Understanding Israel’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

There are all sorts of reasons why a particular region can turn into a hotbed for innovation. For example, one of the reasons that Silicon Valley was able to turn into one of the most incredible locations for technology is because of Stanford, and many have chronicled how they have relied on each other in various ways. However, there is one country that simply cannot be denied when it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation, and that country is Israel. Here are some of the ways we can examine Israeli and its entrepreneurial spirit.

Government Support

While the government is not often necessarily directly responsible for innovation, they certainly can lay a foundation through various policy to make sure that innovation can thrive. Of course, this depends on the country and how much it is willing to embrace technology. During the 1990s, Yigal Erlich created Yozma, the venture capital arm of the Israeli government, and is now widely considered to be the founding father of Israeli venture capital. It is hard to deny the influence that Yozma has had on the entrepreneurial culture of the country.

History

For those even somewhat familiar with the history of Israel or the Jewish people – adversity is nothing new, and they have managed to overcome an incredible amount of obstacles until forming the Israeli state in 1948. It is located in an area with all sorts of tension and conflict, and yet it has managed to emerge as triumphant in terms of technology and innovation. The idea here is that adversity can truly create greatness, or as the saying goes, “pressure makes diamonds”. Whether it’s the idea that entrepreneurs HAVE to make it work, or the idea that no obstacle can truly get in their way – the entrepreneurial spirit of Israel is certainly affected by its rich and storied history. As CEO of Company Folders, Vladimir Gendelman, has stated in an interview: “First, all entrepreneurs should have a growth mindset. It’s the mindset that there is no failure, it’s that from every experience you’ll either learn or succeed.”

Transparency

While there are many cultures that are diplomatic in speech and action, Israelis can be quite blunt. While there might be some individuals that consider this “rude”, the truth is that honesty can save a lot of time in business. The ability to truly express how one is feeling can help to get to the root of an issue, and it can also help get to the point when it comes to negotiating deals, or making aspects of company culture clear to employees, executives, and peers. Of course, some tact might be involved, but the more transparent that one is, the more that they can be trusted. Israel culture has always been transparent and direct in terms of interaction and language, and this can go a long way with clients and customers all around the world, and certainly has contributed to the success of various Israeli companies, as well. After all, if one can be direct, they can be trusted. If they can be trusted, there is always the possibility of business being done.

About the Author
Rachel Brenner is a Professor of Jewish Studies. Her research focuses on Jewish Literature and has published dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters.
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