Three professors and communications experts from the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) held a unique course at Ariel University this summer, bringing the world of international business partnerships to the Capital of Samaria.
Fifteen students from a variety of fields learned for two weeks under the program. On Sunday, they held a world-class Venture Fair to show off their ventures to the press. Many of their projects were cutting-edge – and included everything from a “virtual baby gate,” to sensors which detect drowning swimmers, to superhuman stretchers for stranded hikers – and everything in-between. A handful of projects are already under development or consideration from large hi-tech companies.
Work together, dream big
Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro and Ariel University Chancellor Yigal Cohen-Orgad opened the fair, giving warm words of welcome to a packed hall.
“We see the importance of the cooperation of this operation, not only the exchange of ideas and developing start-ups together, but as a joint effort to achieve a dream,” Cohen-Orgad stated. “Two weeks, I hope, is a starting point for a larger joint operation.”
Mayor Shaviro thanked the delegation for choosing Ariel, and wished them the best of luck.
“This is groundbreaking for us,” he said. “Programming was held in the Young Adult Center, which opened just a few months ago […] This is a very important step for me, especially as mayor, as well as for the university.”
Professor Alexander Bligh, the soon-to-be Chief Science Officer for Israel’s Science Ministry, also addressed the crowd.
“I think we are very lucky to get your experience, expertise, and knowledge,” he said. “We, as Israelis, benefit a lot from it.”
“I’m not a great believer in BDS or reversing the tide,” he added, “[But] the only way I believe we can reverse the tide and go against BDS is through partnerships like this.”
Dr. Marat Ressin, YEDI President and leader of the delegation, noted “It’s great to be together, it’s great to work together – we’re going to do great things together.”
The class then presented each of the experts – Dr. Marat Ressin, Program Advisors Richard Phillips and Dr. Oleg Amurjuev, and Director of Operations Maria Konikov – with wine from the Samarian hills as a parting gift.
A lesson for all
At the venture fair’s end, two students noted to the crowd how they benefited from the partnership program.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Natanel Young, one of the 15 graduates, stated. “As I started studying, I was so impressed by the professionalism and by the knowledge base [here].”
“It was completely awe-inspiring for me because on the one hand, they took a lot of the theoretical material, a lot of theoretical content, and modeled how business actually works. On the other hand, it was extremely practical and very hands-on.”
“What I found really amazing in this course is how you managed to teach things that are so general, but still applied to each and every one [of us],” Eva Abergel, another graduate, added. “Everyone could relate to the advice […] it was as if the advice was meant for each and every one of us personally.”
“I came in a bit skeptical – I knew I had this idea, but not what I was going to do with it, and I wondered why I’m here,” she continued. “Here I got the guidance that I needed and now I’m confident in my venture.”