An absolute majority of Israeli high-tech activity is concentrated in the Greater Tel Aviv area, but representatives of the startup nation are striking roots in almost every nook and cranny in Israel. A new entrepreneurship center named Yarok will open on the Ruppin Campus in the Hefer Valley (Emek Hefer between Netanya and Hadera) in the coming weeks at an investment of NIS 5 million. 40,000 people live in the jurisdiction of the Hefer Valley Regional Council.
Leading the new venture are Ruppin Technology College chairman Eli Barak and Liran Shahar. Barak is responsible for a series of exits, while Shahar, who served in MAMRAM, the IDF Central Data Processing Unit, owns a company that engages in signals processing and sensor research.
Israel has dozens, possibly even hundreds, of work areas for startups, but Barak told "Globes" that he believes that Yarok is special. "Liran and I are high-techers ourselves," he says. "I advise many startups, and am also involved in social welfare activity in Hefer Valley. One of the ideas we came up with was to connect the industry with young people, and to generate reciprocal inspiration. We don't expect the industry just to make contributions to young people."
Barak emphasizes that Yarok is not a philanthropic institution. "We're going to create a hub here, and we have recruited investors for the purpose, and have also invested ourselves. It will be a community and educational technology center - not a school or a community center. We toured Israel and visited incubators and accelerators before settling on the format," he explains
One floor at Yarok will operate on a WeWork format - a work space for startups - while another floor will have a fab lab – a production laboratory in which prototypes of various products can be made.
"There are no separate doors for young people and startups," Barak declares. "In addition, we want to organize family and community activity here. We can invite Grandma and Grandpa and their grandchildren to build a Hanukah dreidel (top), for example. Our feeling is that people are looking for content, and we'll offer them a variety of activities. It could be suitable for over-30 startup people, but also for over-50 entrepreneurs with a dream. Anyone who wants can also get mentoring services from us. We regard this venture as a startup, in which we plan to provide added value."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on May 8, 2017
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