While Israel is known for both its high volume of successful entrepreneurs and start-ups, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is known around the world for its rigorous training and exceptional members. Israel has a reputation as the “start-up nation,” producing more startups per-capita than China, India, Canada, Japan and the UK and attracting twice as much venture-capital investment as the US and 30 times more than Europe. And for those who are aware of international military power and skill, the IDF is a force to be reckoned with. Many non-Israelis do not realize that these two successes are inherently related and intertwined. The first-rate military training and experience that each and every Israeli citizen engages in is directly correlated with Israel’s innovative success.
Serving in the IDF instills Israel’s youth with teamwork and leadership skills during a transformative period of their lives. No one puts it better than Dan Senor and Saul Singer in their bestselling book, “Start-Up Nation”. They frame the values derived from Israeli army service as, “Assertiveness versus insolence; critical, independent thinking versus insubordination; ambition and vision versus arrogance—the words you choose depends on your perspective, but collectively they describe the typical Israeli Entrepreneur.” What makes Israeli entrepreneurs a cut above the rest is their embodiment of these very qualities. The qualities and their rewards can be seen throughout Israel’s history, from the agricultural success in what appeared to be a barren desert to its status as home to the world’s best and brightest innovators. However, the army does much more than just build character. Many Israelis learn and master advanced, practical skills during their army service. Some are introduced to computer programming or are given the opportunity to hone their current skills. Computer engineers are expertly trailed in the IDF and their skills are utilized for a wide range of important, challenging tasks.
Technological advances, agricultural miracles, and more are often traced back to Israeli entrepreneurship. From Disk-on-Key, the storage device used by SanDisk to Waze navigation app to cherry tomatoes, Israeli inventions are seen everywhere. The Israeli success story can be traced back to a society that has had to fight for its right to exist throughout history. Israelis have a certain chutzpah that arose from their historical struggle. Today we see the army, a necessary response to the adversity that Israeli’s face, as a driving force in the consistent development of successful innovators and entrepreneurs. This is a valuable quality to the state of Israel and a our new program will work to transform the entrepreneurial spirit into tangible intrapreneurial success while soldiers serve in the air force (IAF).
Our new program for the IAF will teach soldiers what entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship is and how to take action, responsibility and leadership by turning their ideas into ventures. Participants will gain knowledge, management skills, personal empowerment, and the entrepreneurial mindset. They will be given hands-on experience and as well as expert mentorship. The program purpose is to build the IAF ecosystem and to fertilize the field with intrapreneurial ideas and projects.
The entrepreneurial spirit has been alive and well in Israel since the beginning of it’s long and trying history. Mandatory service in the IDF teaches Israeli youth to develop their creative side, follow their ambition, hone their skills, and think analytically. Each and every Israeli leaves the army with an unrivaled sense of personal responsibility to their community and leadership skills. We see the results of IDF service in Israel’s success as a startup and entrepreneurial hub. Our program with the IAF helps soldiers understand what exactly intrapreneurship/entrepreneurship is and gives them a chance to try their hand at innovation before they even complete their service. There is no doubt that the Israeli Defense Force serves a purpose far beyond that of military power. It helps to shape Israelis into not only the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow, but into human beings of substance and exceptional character.