Why Multinationals Look to Israel for Innovation

GIP Israel’s first full day of meetings focused on how three massive multinational corporations have tapped into Tel Aviv’s rich entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Konnekt is an open innovation campus that connects Volkswagen’s brands with start up talent around Israel. Its Director of Development, Hemdat Sagi, discussed the local surge in autonomous driving and mobility “game-changing technology”, along with her experience as a businesswoman in an industry that continues to struggle with gender representation.

Microsoft’s Reactor Tel Aviv follows a similar concept. Startup Success Manager Tor Tsuk sees herself as a tech matchmaker, pairing emerging Israeli companies with Microsoft’s vast network of partners.

Finally, the group visited The Bridge Builders – a commercialization program that helps Israeli entrepreneurs develop their startups, and subsequently connects them with the dozens of brands owned by Coca Cola, Turner, and Mercedes Benz. General Manager Gab Czertok’s advice to aspiring founders who want to differentiate themselves? “Learn to listen!”

Next stop, Jerusalem!

T-minus 24 Hours to Global Immersion Israel

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Columbia Business School students have begun to arrive in Tel Aviv for the week-long Global Immersion Israel: Leadership and Innovation tour.

Led by Professor Todd Jick, Columbia MBA candidates from across the globe – including the United States, China, Philippines, India, Norway, Germany, Paraguay, and Brazil, among others – will spend the week meeting with Israeli business leaders and public officials.

Few economies can claim to have evolved more rapidly than Israel’s in the seventy years since it declared independence. From its modest socialist beginnings, Israel has solidified its place on the vanguard of technological innovation.

Earlier in the semester, guest lectures by Dan Senor (co-author of “Start-Up Nation”) and Seth Siegel (author of “Let There Be Water”) set the stage for what promises to be a week full of conversations about entrepreneurship, the role of government, and business as a form of diplomacy.