In recent years, Israel has come to be known around the world as the “Startup Nation,” an appropriate title for the miraculous growth and success Israel’s economy. It produces more startups per-capita than China, India, Canada, Japan and the UK. Not only this, but 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. These programs aim to spark the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age by opening the doors to the world of innovation at an early age.
Youth entrepreneurship education programs in Israel are each unique in their focus and mission. For instance, the Young Entrepreneurs Israel program functions in collaboration with IDC Herzliya. The program focuses on middle school students, an earlier stage of education than is typically targeted by other similar programs. Instituting entrepreneurship education at this early stage in development may prove highly beneficial to these children in the future. Studies reveal that students who are educated in entrepreneurship at an early age show increased non-cognitive entrepreneurial skills. 2nd-4th year IDC students and alumni work in collaboration with both business people and Young Entrepreneurs staff to mentor the participants. They strive to instill the entrepreneurial spirit in participants and to assist them in the development of original and innovative entrepreneurial projects.
The Summer Startup Program Technion is a 4-week program designed for 15-18 year olds from around the world. The program is taught in English at the Technion in Haifa. It focuses on the high-tech field, teaching participants about business development and giving them hands-on experience with entrepreneurship and innovation. One of the benefits of the Summer Startup Program Technion is the exposure the participants get to children from a myriad of different cultures. The program includes a great deal of group work in small teams, as well as field trips and academic workshops. At the end of the program the participants are able to present their business models and plans to a panel of Israeli CEOs, an exciting and rare opportunity for such children of their age.
Unisteam, another Israeli youth entrepreneurship education program, focuses on a different subgroup of the youth community. Unistream works to bridge the gap between people in the center of Israel and those at the periphery. The goal is to give youth in communities with limited resources a chance to succeed in Israel’s opportunity-rich economy. The program claims to widen the scopes of “success, tolerance, and personal empowerment”. Unistream believes that the cornerstones of socially active business leadership are acquisition of ethics, knowledge, management skills, hands-on experience, alteration of mind-set, and personal empowerment. The program provides participants with the tools they need to empower both themselves and their local communities. Indeed, statistics show that they are highly successful in achieving their goals. Participants are more likely to serve as officers in the IDF, to be active volunteers, and to enroll in university than the national average. Additionally, they report increased fluency in business terminology and concepts, improved leadership skills, comfort presenting complex issues, and that the program provided them with accessibility to business in the real world.
The aim of the ESP program is not only to teach children what entrepreneurship is, but also to teach them how to take action, responsibility, and leadership by turning their ideas into actual ventures. ESP uses hands-on experience and mentorship to help the students acquire an entrepreneurial mindset, management skills, personal empowerment, and knowledge. The program helps give students a connection to both Israel and people from all over the world, providing them with a toolkit of collective knowledge and skills. This collaborative mindset is of the utmost important in the increasingly shared economy of today. On December 10th and 11th, the program hosted a conference called YOCOPAS that was attended by students from partner schools in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The students learned about and discussed alternatives for the future with regards to peace, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. The conference had an excellent turnout of 190 students. DUCO helped organize one of the workshops with a speaker from Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). EMIS intends to continue projects with the partner schools in the near future, as well as to initiate new projects for the youth, by the youth. They consider it to be the first step in a long-lasting and successful collaboration with the Israeli and Palestinian partner schools.
Youth entrepreneurship education has the power to change the landscape of an entire society’s culture and economy. It lays a firm foundation for a society made of up of individuals with innovative ambition, critical thinking skills, problem solving capabilities, and creative inspiration. As one of the worlds’ most important and successful hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship, Israel is the ideal environment for young minds to gather the skills and knowledge that are integral to finding success in the startup ecosystem. It is vital that our youth not only learn how to take advantage of opportunities, but how to create their own. Courses like EMIS’s ESP program teach these lessons and allow students participate in a cross-cultural dialogue that ultimately leads to a more productive, successful economy and society as a whole. DUCO prides itself in helping foster the entrepreneurial spirit in people of all ages and backgrounds. Israel’s rich history reveals that it has truly been the innovation nation since its inception. Israeli’s have the remarkable ability to create something from nothing, whether it is a flourishing agricultural scene or a thriving economy. Its reputation as the “startup nation” will continue to grow and spread exponentially as more and more of Israel’s youth gain access to high-quality entrepreneurship education.