Category Archives: Portrait

A discussion with Prof. Shechtman, 2011 Chemistry Nobel Prize

A solution for a more peaceful world: technological entrepreneurship!

During our 2nd day trip in Israel, we also met Dan Shechtman. He is Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at Technion – Israel Institute of technology located in Haifa, one of the most respected Engineering University in the world.

He was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “the discovery of quasicrystals and he has been teaching the course of Technological Entrepreneurship to C.10000 engineers during the last 26 years.

Prof. Shechtman argued that Entrepreneurship is the best way to create job places and, particularly, technological one which provides better tools to all the other kinds of entrepreneurships to be developed.

At the end of his very interesting speech, he started answering our questions, giving us many insights about Israel start-ups proliferation: he compared Israel to Far East countries, where, if your company goes bankruptcy, it’s a shame for all your family whereas in Israel is the opposite: someone who failed with his company, is considered to have become a better business man.

Last point was about nuclear energy, that, in his opinion, remains the best way to produce energy by far: he condemned countries like Germany and their shortermism simply saying that the question shouldn’t be going or not going for nuclear energy, but how to produce safer centrals.

Question-answer session with Prof. Dan Shechtman, at Technion

Question-answer session with Prof. Dan Shechtman, at Technion

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In the heart of Technion: scientific research in Israel

Early wake up for the innovators on Monday! We left Tel Aviv in order to reach Haifa where we visited Matam,  the largest and oldest hi-tech park in Israel, and Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, a public research University and also the oldest and most famous in Israel.

Welcome at Technion!

Welcome at Technion!

At the Technion we have had the pleasure of attending, with other French students from EDHEC and SUPELEC, two very interesting conferences. The first speaker was Mrs Keren Rubin, the director of BEIC, the Bronica Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, placed in Technion.

Why Israel?

In the first part of her presentation, Mrs Rubin told us the major reason (now clear to all of us…) that led the Israeli high technological growth in the ’90:

  • a highly developed defence sector and its strong relation with Universities
  • a double digit growth in engineering/science graduates
  • the influx of Russian scientists and engineers that immigrates in Israel in order to find a job
  • the support of governments through specific policy and funds
  • the influx of US VC capital thanks to specific funds dedicated to Israel
  • high tech multinationals investments in R&D
  • the Israeli cultural, social and entrepreneurial capital

Entrepreneurship at Technion

Mrs Rubin then showed us how elevated is the entrepreneurial spirit in Israel and in particular at the Technion: there are several organisations that have all the same goal of develop and boost the technical entrepreneurship among Technion students.
These organisations include the BEIC, the knowledge center for innovation (KCI), the Technion R&D Foundation  (TRDF), the Alfred Mann Institute (AMIT) and the Technion incubator.

The ESCP Europe students listening to a conference at Technion

The ESCP Europe students listening to a conference at Technion

The BEIC: teach, outreach and research

Since Mrs Rubin is in charge of the Bonica Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, she concluded her presentation explaining us which was her work there. The BEIC have as audience the students, the faculty and the alumni of Technion, and its missions are teach, outreach and research. Regarding the teaching aspect, the BEIC spreads the knowledge and develop the skills needed to have success as  entrepreneurs and boost network relationships thanks to its eClub (campus’ meetings every two weeks), eConference related to innovation and entrepreneurship topics , credited courses and programs, consulting services, bizTec (national business plan competition) and the “Technion for life” mentoring program (alumni that helps students).

Why studying in Israel?

After the conference, we had an informal meeting with French people studying at the Technion. Most of them have had a degree from a prestigious engineer school in France (Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, etc) and have decided to continue their studies here in Israel. We asked them what were their motivations. They explain that they had some personal motivation (possibility to live their faith) but above all they came for the very good quality of research in Technion and the strong technological applications of science in Israel.

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Being a young entrepreneur in Israel : the story of Jonathan

At the University of Tel Aviv, we met Jonathan. He is a French entrepreneur living in Tel Aviv.

He explained us his personnal story. He was born in Paris. After highschool, he went to scientific preparatory classes at Lycée Chaptal during one year, and then realized it wasn’t what he wanted to do. So he decided to move to Israel in 2002. During one year, he learned Hebrew, so then he could enter the Technion (it is like the Ecole Polytechnique in France, we will visit it tomorrow). Then he had to go to the military service, which is compulsory in Israel. He worked for the intelligence services as an officer.
After that he went back to school for a neuroscience licence, which was very practical.
And now he is launching his own company : Erez, strategic consulting based on exponential thinking. Exponential thinking is a theory based on the fact that innovations comes faster and faster to the market. For example, Facebook has been adopted by 50 millions of people in only 3years. So, according to Jonathan, companies should anticipate the future, and imagine which kind of product could exist in 5 or 20 years, better than having a strategy based on today’s world.

Why moving from France to Israel?
Each immigrant here has its own reasons for coming to Israel (business opportunities, religion, quality of life…). Jonathan wanted to take part in this amazing project called Israel.

The military service experience
Jonathan told us about the years he spent in the army. It can be hard for French students like us to imagine taking a break of at least 3 years in the middle of your studies to go to the army, but this is actually a very important step in every Israeli young people’s life. For example, Jonathan told us he met his best friends in the army. He also got high responsibilities at a very young age (22), so he gained a lot in self-confidence. The army allows young people to go beyond their limits and to become more mature, which can explain why Israeli people are more innovative.

How to do good networking?
Networking is very important in Israel. Jonathan says it begins with a good handshake! But the best way to create a good network is to establish a win-win relationship: if you expect someone to help you, first help him. It can be as simple as connecting people.

Jonathan, entrepreneur in Israel

Jonathan, entrepreneur in Israel

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