Chutzpa at its finest.
As TAVtech embarks on third year, people often ask us: Why Israel? Coding courses can be taught to a group of American students anywhere, and co-working spaces and accelerators that double as classrooms can be found all over, especially in our leadership’s New York home base. Why shlep to Tel-Aviv?
We know the Startup Nation mantra — the facts, figures and culture that Israel’s biggest proponents proudly share at meetings and dinner tables. From the country’s mandatory military service to its lack of natural resources, there’s a slew of factors that push the country towards innovation. But while budding startups surround our fellows, they spend most of the day in their courses. So again: why Israel?
Here’s why: while the country’s brightest students can indeed learn coding anywhere, we believe that when skills are developed in a context of unabashed ambition, fearlessness, and chutzpa, ideas for new applications of skills, sometimes even startups, can be born. The attitude of independence that breeds such staggering rates of entrepreneurship can be felt everywhere, from speaking with a vendor at a falafel stand, the driver in a Gett taxi, or the CEO working at a WeWork building.
On our first day of the program, head of Startup Nation Central Erez Frenkel explained the startup mindset and culture that breeds such innovation: when Israelis see something they believe can be done better, they have full self-confidence that they can successfully step up to the plate. There’s much less bureaucratic career climbing, less fear of being shut down by a boss or more experienced person; no one’s more apt, more capable, or better than anyone else. They think, and they do.
Danny, a successful Israeli entrepreneur, represents the startup mindset to a tee. He says he founded his company 25 years ago after thinking to himself, quite simply: “If [the hypothetical] Moshe can do it, why can’t Danny?”
We believe that such an attitude, bred on such a mass scale that it can be understood as a nation’s whole culture, is what other countries who are less innovative might be missing. This culture is the fuel that can propel already brilliant students with loads of resources to create future innovation, and change the world for the better.