I have been to my fair share of meetups in Jerusalem lately, but never had I been to an entrepreneurial meetup specifically for youth before. It’s a relatively new group, called Tomorrow JLM, which is part of the Tomorrow global community, founded by Nir Kouris. The Tomorrow community encourages young entrepreneurs around the world to “turn their passion into action”. Before Tomorrow JLM, there was only the Tomorrow Israel chapter organizing entrepreneurial meetups for youth in Israel, but it mostly meets in Tel Aviv. However, with the initiative of young Jerusalemites Max Voloshin and Yinon Hadad and the support of MadeInJLM, a nonprofit that connects and provides resources for the Jerusalem startup ecosystem, Tomorrow JLM was created towards the end of last year.
The Tomorrow JLM meetup I attended was the first organized by 15 year old Web Developer and Designer, Reuven Karasik, and the new coordinator of Tomorrow JLM. The topic of the evening was “How to Turn Your Idea into Reality”. It was held at PICO’s co-working space for entrepreneurs in Talpiot. Attendance was high, as was the energy. The vast majority of the participants were Jerusalem high school students, boys and girls, from both religious and non-religious schools. Some were aspiring programmers, a few already had projects they were working on, and others were neither programmers nor tech fanatics and had never been to a meetup before.
The evening began with Reuven introducing Oded Barel, Managing Director of Siftech, the first startup accelerator in Jerusalem. Oded gave a brief explanation of how an accelerator guides entrepreneurs through the initial process of developing their product or service. He also introduced Nitzan Adler, who is new to Siftech and will wear several hats, including being responsible for the needs of young entrepreneurs in the city.
Next was Shani Appelbaum, Founder of MAYZ (Maale Adumim Yazamut), a new entrepreneur center in Maale Adumim. Her presentation was on 12 steps to achieving your goals. The participants particularly appreciated Shani sharing Sylvester Stallone’s story of rising from poverty to stardom because he believed in himself, persevered and was determined to get that first break.
Shani was followed by several inspirational speakers who found entrepreneurial success at a young age – Oshriel Ohayon, Roi Darioshi, Or Ben Siman-Tov, Max Voloshin (mentioned above) and the star of the evening, Yishai Cohen, 19 year old Founder and CEO of SmartBus.
Here’s a few of the tips these young entrepreneurs shared:
- Look around for problems that need solving.
- Constantly ask yourself why you are working on this particular problem and whether you are going about it in the best way.
- Remember there is more than one solution for every problem.
- Do at least one small thing each day towards your goal.
- Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, feedback is crucial.
- Don’t try and do everything yourself, chances of success are greater with the help of others.
- Treat the members of your team well.
- Never stop dreaming and thinking about how to actualize your dreams.
- If you fall down, get right back up.
- And perhaps most important, believe in yourself!
It was a great meetup. The participants clearly enjoyed meeting others their age who share their entrepreneurial spirit. Even after a long day of sitting in school, everyone was completely engaged in the speakers and those who came from the center of the country said they would definitely make the trip again for the next event.
I spoke with Reuven a couple of days later to hear what he took away from the evening. This is what he said to me, “I learned that I can change the way people think and inspire young teenagers, and I choose to keep doing that.” I tip my hat to you, Reuven. You did a phenomenal job coordinating the event from start to finish and I wish you and your peers much success in all your endeavors.
Be sure to follow Tomorrow JLM and tell your friends about their next meetup on September 9! Tomorrow JLM events are made possible with the support of MadeInJLM, PICO, The Jerusalem Development Authority and Siftech.