Start-Up Nation Technology Fair presented local Israeli companies that showcased their technology and provided internship opportunities to a packed audience of San Jose State students last night in the Student Union Ballroom.
Israel Ideas and Hasbara Fellowships are a joint initiative making up Start-Up Nation Technology Fair. The company started in 2015 on two college campuses and has now expanded over 20 campuses coming to SJSU for the first time this year.
Start-Up Nation Technology Fair features Israeli startup companies in the area of the college campuses they are visiting.
“The purpose of the event is to present all the great technology coming from the Middle East,” said economics junior Yoni Feldman, the head student organizing the event. “Most students think when they hear about Israel is what they see on TV. The event was partly organized to give students a different outlook on the Middle East.”
Mark Cohen, the founder of Israel Ideas, says Start-Up Nation Technology Fair will educate almost 5,000 students this year about Israel beyond the conflict. This is an effort to teach students about Israel beyond what they see in the media.
Cohen’s motivation to start his company came from when he visited Israel and noticed that there was a story that needed to be told. He shared with the audience that there are more startups per capita in Israel than anywhere else in the world.
“There’s a lack of fear of failure in Israel, which is creating serial entrepreneurs,” Cohen said.
The event featured a panel where four CEO’s of different Israeli based companies told their stories, what motivated them to become entrepreneurs and gave advice to students on how to succeed in start-up companies.
“The key is to figure out in your early years what your passion is and then when you figure it out to give it your all,” said Lior Koriat, CEO of Quali, a computer software company.
A realistic view of what students lives will look like if they decide to become entrepreneurs was discussed by the panel.
“If you want to know what it is like to work for a small start-up just go to Great America and ride a roller coaster,” said Moshik Raccah CEO of Silo, a professional networking site.
The CEOs explained that Israel is similar to the Bay Area in terms that it is a very concentrated area of innovation.
After the panel discussion, approximately 12 Israeli companies had booths lined up along the outside of the student union ballroom, giving students the opportunity to network.
Juan Rosero, a psychology sophomore, attended the event in hopes of getting a possible internship.
“I have high aspirations,” Rosero said.
Cohen is optimistic in his company expanding. As Start-Up Nation Technology Fair grows, he wants to help create an understanding between different groups of people.
He explained that similarly to how some do notwant other countries to envision the United States just based on our politics, he wants others to see Israel as more than just what is presented on the media.
“I hope to expand and show parts of Israel on a holistic view,” Cohen said. “I want to shine light beyond the conflict.”