Israel, not just a Startup Nation


An informal moment, with a sandwich, to discuss and debate topical issues in the international scene with prestigious guests. This is the idea behind the Lunch and Learn Talks series, launched  by the Full-Time MBA Director, Francesco Daveri. The idea stems from a simple finding: within an well-established program like the MBA, the “unofficial” and more relaxed moments are great opportunities for learning, sharing opinions and building the team, especially if you are sitting at a table with prominent figures in the economy and international culture.

«Even though our students are beyond being young and inexperienced, we still have the mission to teach them to fly better», Daveri says. «Not only with the in-class mentoring, but also with new and different tools such as lunch-and-learn seminars to make the program even more flexible and game-changing. The world is in constant flux and these informal, yet informed, meetings on the event of the day, open to students and faculty, are important to develop the habit of discussing what is happening, to compare the things learnt in class with real life and to leverage collective intelligence."

This month the MBA Director together with Paolo Carlomagno, MBA Student and President of the SDA Bocconi Entrepreneurship Club, hosted Ambassador Ofer Sachs, Israeli Ambassador to Italy, to discuss on Israel and its entrepreneurial vocation.

Mr. Sachs' talk focused on science, innovation and technology, in addition to the rich history of Israel, and enlightened students on how a one-of-a-kind business ecosystem has developed there. The Ambassador's presentation focused on Israel’s changing environment since its inception as a country and favorability as a startup nation and technology-oriented economy. He shared relevant statistics on Israel as compared to other OECD countries and also noted the challenges that Israel faces today and those it will confront in the near future.

Israeli Changing Environment

    - Young population of approximately 8.6 million with increasing growth
    - $40,00 USD GDP per capita (2017) compared to $6,000 USD GDP per capital in 1985
    - Low unemployment rate of 4.3% (2017)

Innovation in Israel

     - 1st in the world in expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP
     - 1st in the world in venture capital investments as a percentage of GDP
     - 1st in the world in venture capital investments per capita
     - This illustrates Israel’ s creativity, innovativeness and commitment to technological advancements.


    - Unfavorable foreign relations make it difficult for Israel to trade with neighboring countries so domestic businesses must have a global strategy.
    - The real effective exchange rate and the rapid and dramatic valuation of the NIS (New Israeli Shekel) eroded the competitiveness of some Israeli industries in the global market, increasing the import levels of some goods and services.
    - The entrance of large, multi-national tech corporations from developed countries such as the United States are driving up wages and forcing Israeli startups to match compensation levels.
    - Israel’s economy has a very high dependency on the US market.

This evidence highlights the uniqueness of Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture, making the country an excellent benchmark for would-be entrepreneurs and managers willing to understand how an effective ecosystem can boost creativity and innovation. The Israel of today is an open market that is seeking global cooperation in R&D, trade, academia and beyond.

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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