Innovation is the driving force in the progress of any modern society, dictating economic success and creating cross-cultural connection. The spread of innovation occurs in climates that are conducive to creating thinking, co-working, and financial investment. Such a climate is referred to as an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The meeting of the public, private, and academic sectors creates a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. When the three sectors are symbiotic, the stage is set for entrepreneurial success, catalyzing the rapid spread of innovation throughout any given society.

A strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is the single most important factor in the development and success of an economy. Israel is often referred to as the “Startup Nation”. It produces more startups per-capita than China, India, Canada, Japan and the UK. In addition, it attracts twice as much venture-capital investment as the US and 30 times more than Europe. Israel’s economic capital, Tel Aviv, is considered to be one of the best environments for entrepreneurship in the world, second only to Silicon Valley. In a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, support programs, facilities, investments, knowledge, and education are used together to facilitate entrepreneurial growth. Entrepreneurs who build social equity through interaction with locals develop a sense of personal responsibility to their community and work to meet local market demand. While a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem catalyzes innovation, innovation simultaneously bolsters the ecosystem itself. As the relationship between entrepreneurs and the local ecosystem strengthens, connections formed between global communities. This is only possible through the use of education, community support, investment, and networking.

But how is a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem built? What set of circumstances arose that caused Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv to prosper and to become innovation powerhouses known around the world? There are a number of factors that facilitate the development and maintenance of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, loosely identified as intersection between the public, private, and academic sectors. But what exactly does that intersection entail? It begins with the identification of entrepreneurial activity that already exists within a community, and the subsequent determination of local resources, gaps that need to be filled, and market demand. Networking, the creation of excitement about innovation, and educating the community on the benefits of entrepreneurship are early steps in implementing a culture of innovation. Once there is community awareness, ecosystem managers must employ the three sectors, soliciting government participation, locating investors, and instituting entrepreneurship education in the community. An entrepreneurial ecosystem can only benefit the local and global community if it is maintained and allowed to flourish. Ecosystem managers, government officials, investors, and entrepreneurs are responsible for staying active within the community and contributing to their network.

​Following ongoing inquiries into the Israeli innovation ecosystem from global partners and innovation ecosystems across Europe, IBM with StarTAU is launching a 4-day seminar in Israel, during the first week of April, for an audience of startup ecosystem managers from Europe. The seminar is intended for acceleration program leaders, innovation hubs, innovation & startups ecosystem managers in corporate, coworking spaces, academia and the like.

The goal of this seminar is to expose the participants to the fundamentals of the Israeli start-up ecosystem, i.e “The Startup Nation”. This includes educational sessions, speaker panels, visits and meetings with leaders in the Israeli startup ecosystem who will share their best practices. This is also an opportunity to form a network of relationships with key players from the Israeli and European startup ecosystem.

​The seminar program will cover a variety of topics, among which are the Israeli startup ecosystem, the government role, accelerators & VCs, investments, going global, academia as a catalyst for innovation, innovative thinking and communities.

As a leader in the Israeli ecosystem, I think this seminar represents a wonderful opportunity to connect to the Israeli sphere and expand your network.

Innovation occurs in environments in which it is encouraged and supported by people in power as well as the community as a whole. A successful entrepreneurial ecosystem is a network of people, organizations, and institutions that is conducive not only to choosing to become an entrepreneur, but to subsequent entrepreneurial success. It is important that the intersection of the public, private, and academic sectors occurs, local resources are utilized, and pressing needs met. Entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial ecosystem result in direct and positive benefits to their communities, both local and global. The development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem means systematic innovation, which is synonymous with a flourishing and evolving economy.