By Ben Dayanim, for the Mitzpeh, @mitzpeh
In 2009, Dan Senor and Saul Singer published The Start-up Nation, an account of Israel’s near miraculous climb to the top of the startup world just 67 years after the country’s birth. Israel boasts an astonishing per capita rate of startup production and is home to countless strong-willed, successful entrepreneurs. It is the birthplace of world-famous innovations such as Waze, Wix and the USB stick.
Often called the “second Silicon Valley,” Israel is an unparalleled hub for entrepreneurs and their startup companies. At TAMID Group, students have the opportunity to experience working and engaging with Israel firsthand.
TAMID Group is a student-run organization on upwards of 30 different campuses across the nation (and several international chapters) that provides pro-bono consulting services to innovative Israeli startups and invests real money in Israeli companies on U.S. stock markets. TAMID members participate in a thorough education semester, a “start-up simulation” in which students go through the process of building their own start-ups for a hands-on development of useful skills relevant to their work with exciting early-stage companies.
TAMID has no political or religious affiliations; the organization’s mission is to develop the professional skills of our members through hands-on involvement with the Israeli economy – experiential learning through business in Israel.
But why Israel of all places? Israel provides an unmatched pool of rich opportunities for our students to dig into. It’s that go-getter attitude, the “won’t take no for an answer” outlook, that makes Israeli companies the perfect partners. TAMID members across the country build connections with diligent, hardworking Israeli entrepreneurs, and can even spend the summer interning for startups in Tel Aviv to get a real taste of what life in Israel is like. Students learn relevant and applicable skills by working with and investing in real Israeli companies, and can then leverage what they have learned through TAMID in the real world.
Much like the companies we have worked with at TAMID, Israel is, in a sense, its own startup. It’s a scrappy little country with limited resources that pushed its way to the top of the ranks in innovation and entrepreneurship in less than a century. Israelis set an example of how with a little bit of drive and a lot of chutzpah, people can do incredible things, even with limited resources.
Israel also sets a poignant example for us as students to pursue entrepreneurship. TAMID members have gone on to do great things, start their own companies, and make a profound impact. The 30+ start-ups with TAMID founders or co-founders are testament to the skills, smarts, and drive that TAMID encourages. Our undergraduate years offer us a unique opportunity to, like Israel, push our limits, expand our horizons, and accomplish what we might not think is possible.