Silicon Wadi

Israel has the3rd most companies listed on the Nasdaq, after the US and China. For a country that is one twelfth the size of New Zealand, with only 9 million people and a continual struggle against existential threats, it is a remarkable achievement.Part of the making of “The startup nation” lies in the networking and training offered by the compulsory military service. However, not all Israeli citizens are required to serve –approximately 1.9M Arab Israelisare exempt from compulsion (althoughincreasingly more Arabs are serving).Using part of a$5 billion (New Zealand dollars) planfrom the Israeli government to improve the social development of Israel’s Arab population, young Arab entrepreneurs are establishing a “silicon wadi” – a hub of Middle Eastern tech within the startup nation.Sometimes these companies arejointly runwith Arab founders bringing tech expertise and Jewish founders with business expertise. And, in the case ofHybridthere are also mentorship schemes with the objective of building a “more inclusive Startup Nation”.Although the investment from the government is large, this is not a story that gets much press. And, perhaps, neither should it. After all, cooperation among Israelis of all backgrounds is commonplace and hardly newsworthy. It’s just nice to be reminded every now and then.

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