Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

Hillel Fuld is one of the world’s top 10 tech bloggers. His latest post answering the question why is Israel still ‘the start up nation to follow’ is highly recommended viewing.

However, when it comes to entrepreneurship, Israel is not just about high-tech. Every Tuesday, you can find me at MATI’s office in southern Jerusalem. I spend up to five hours meeting with innovators. Nothing seemingly obvious links them together – neither age, religion, gender, nor even academic background. They all have a burning desire to…………

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And there’s the rub. I get to hear about everything from importing and exporting unique foods to an entertainment park to a medical centre to an innovative form of advertising, There is seemingly no end to the list. And the diary of full for next Tuesday.

MATI has promoted thousands of new businesses over the decades. It also has a special programme, via the Ministry of Absorption, to assist new immigrants. I have been associated with a multitude of projects in Jerusalem – special activities for children, art studios, high-tech, female empowerment, health centre, security services for Africa, etc, etc, etc. Again, I rarely cease to be amazed at the range of creativity.

This Thursday, in my capacity as business coach and mentor, I visited the Israel Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE). Located in the north west of Jerusalem, it is a ‘wework’ type environment for ultraorthodox Jews with high-tech projects. It opened its doors in August 2018 with a capacity of 120 spots. Six months later, the place is almost full.

Benyamin Claymen and Ya’akov Hudson have onboarded a fascinating array of start-ups. For example, I met with three engaged in various aspects of Fintech, each applying themselves to different markets; (USA, Latin America, and the UK). In parallel, I was introduced to associates engaged in social entrepreneurship, using tech to impact on individuals and communities.

What is especially encouraging was to observe the involvement of the Jerusalem Development Authority. Sitting down with their representatives and then enabling them to meet with teams on a one-on-one basis was singularly productive.

Hillel Fuld among others looks for a common theme. Is it that concept of the ‘drive to survive’? I am not sure. Other have pointed to government schemes and army background. The Mediterranean sun? Maybe.

In any event, Jerusalem is a city thriving with innovation and entrepreneurship. It is a thrill and joy to live daily.

 

 

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