Fostering a New Generation of Entrepreneurs: A New National Program Brings High-Tech Studies to Israel’s Periphery - The Jewish Voice
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Fostering a New Generation of Entrepreneurs: A New National Program Brings High-Tech Studies to Israel’s Periphery

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Fostering a New Generation of Entrepreneurs: A New National Program Brings High-Tech Studies to Israel’s Periphery

In a first pilot of its kind, the program will establish “Entrepreneur leap centers” in 10 community centers across the country

“Everything starts with education,” says Orit Farkash Hacohen, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, “and this is true also for Israel’s high-tech industry. The extra-curricular program we are inaugurating today will engage students from diverse areas throughout Israel, with the goal of developing entrepreneurial skills and mindsets.”

The Ministry, together with the Israel Association of Community Centers, is embarking on a pilot for a new national program to connect youth from Israel’s social and geographical peripheral areas with the worlds of high-tech and entrepreneurship. The program will establish “Entrepreneur Leap Centers” at community centers across the country, which will provide 14–18-year-olds tools to think, adapt, and innovate like entrepreneurs – and opportunities to initiate a venture, supervised by mentors from the industry.

The program is intended to provide a response to the present situation, in which various populations in Israel’s social and geographical periphery – including women, Arab society, and the Haredi community – are under-represented in the high-tech industry.

In the program’s first year, it will be implemented in ten community centers (approximately 100 participants in each): Kiryat Yam, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Yarka, Tamra, Katzrin-Golan, Holon, Jerusalem-Gilo, Kiryat Malachi, Rahat (the Switch Center, a joint Jewish-Bedouin NGO), and Beitar Illit. In following years, the program will be expanded according to the results of the pilot.

The program seeks to diversify the high-tech sector and make the industry more accessible to Israeli youths with entrepreneurial potential for whom the high-tech world is not within reach. It is part of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology’s response to the needs arising from the discussions of the inter-ministerial committee tasked with increasing human capital in the high-tech industry, led by Dedi Perlmutter, which has noted the importance of encouraging and exposing the younger generation to tools and qualifications that will prepare them for the emerging job market, particularly in the high-tech world.

At the Entrepreneur Leap Centers, participants will experience an environment that simulates work in the high-tech industry and develop their projects from ideation to execution. The participants will learn about creating and delivering presentations, building a work plan and marketing, and enhance their English language skills. They will also become part of a digital network connecting all of the Leap Centers. The program taps into the business sector: Senior figures from the high-tech, medical, ecology, and other industries will serve as mentors for the program’s budding entrepreneurs.

The initiative opens the door for Israeli teenagers’ involvement with the hi-tech industry by bringing it to their community centers and thereby to their very homes and neighborhoods so that even in the peripheral geographical areas of the country Israeli teenagers will be able to enjoy the fruits of this thriving industry,” adds Minister Farkash Hacohen. “We wish for teenagers in the periphery to think that being an entrepreneur is a viable option for them, and this program will provide them with the confidence and the tools necessary to achieve that. The program is accompanied by the “Hi-tech Class” program launched by the office earlier this year, which included teaching hi-tech and programming skills as part of the school’s curriculum and is already implemented in hundreds of schools and kindergartens.”

Hilla Haddad Chmelnik, Director-General of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, explains: “Young Israelis from the periphery do not even dare to dream about high-tech. This world is so far away from them, that it does not seem like a viable option for them. The new program is geared to change this equation, by bringing the world of technological entrepreneurship to their very doorsteps. The Leap Centers’ activities will equip participants with new tools and unique opportunities for practical learning by establishing a venture of their own. The fact that together with the Educating Towards High-Tech Program, the Leap Centers are beginning to operate already in the current school year is a huge achievement, and I believe that in the coming years, these important national programs will change Israel’s high-tech map.”

Tal Basechess, Chief Executive Officer of the Israel Association of Community Centers: “The new program is aimed at a future in which everybody has the ability to participate in and benefit from the fruits of the high-tech industry. This program will connect children and youth in the social and geographical periphery to a sector that is an important engine of the Israeli economy, provide them with important tools, and develop their sense of competence, and, thanks to its mentoring component, acquaint them with individuals and business companies in this industry.” The mentors who volunteer in the program will assist participants to progress in their collective work, while complying with the standards and procedures of the entrepreneurial and business world.

Participants will also receive support from volunteers in the community, from companies involved in social contributions, and from business companies, towards transforming their ideas into implementable ventures. The young entrepreneurs will learn to present their projects and receive feedback from the instructors and mentors. A Hackathon will be held at the end of the year, in which the various groups will compete to find a solution to a challenge within a limited period of time.

For further details and to coordinate interviews, please contact:

* Michal Marmary, International Media officer at 054-6610602

* Hila Aloni Ohayon, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology 054-2457680



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