There is a growing movement that is gathering momentum. Increasingly, recognition of the major opportunities at the intersection between needs in developing countries and Israeli innovation is energizing action to wake Israeli entrepreneurship up to this reality.
For example, on March 11 DevTech Hub, Net Impact TAU, and the Program on Innovation and International Development at Tel Aviv University are hosting an event on ‘Building Successful Businesses that Serve the Global Poor,’ showcasing innovative Israeli businesses in this sector that have piloted in developing countries. One more recent manifestation is the ID² gathering of Israeli and diaspora innovators and international-development stakeholders to solve international development challenges.
What do these initiatives have in common? They identify the potential to harness Israeli innovation for the betterment of global society.
In the world of hi-tech, Israel’s strength in innovation has earned it an international reputation as the ‘Start-Up Nation,’ and Israeli technologies for elite markets have indeed become an export powerhouse.
At the same time, Israeli low-tech innovation has also played a significant role in Israel’s transition from developing to developed country status in a relatively short time. Israelis have created new solutions to contend with many challenges that are resonant with those experienced in developing countries – for example, related to scarcity in water, energy, and agriculture.
Yet, Israel has not emerged as the ‘Start-Up Nation’ for innovation in international development. Despite the creativity and energy of countless entrepreneurs in Israel today that recognize the potential to develop technological and social innovations that can address unmet needs in the developing world, overall the sector is stunted by a lack of knowledge, experience, and supportive infrastructure.
Reut is involved with the key initiatives seeking to catalyze the international development innovation sector in Israel in the context of our broader efforts in the field of 21st century Tikkun Olam (21CTO).
Today, the 21CTO team is working to develop the implementation strategy that will translate its vision, mission, and strategy into action. The new momentum that seeks to cast the Start-Up Nation in a role that more closely resembles the ‘light unto nations’ will undoubtedly play a major role.