How Did Israel Become “Start-Up Nation”?

Posted on 9 de agosto de 2010 por


Since the onset of the current financial crisis, political and economic pundits have loudly proclaimed the end of American economic dominance. U.S. policymakers are struggling to revive the economy, establish new industrial competencies, and remain globally competitive. Meanwhile, in a small, young, constantly embattled country across the globe, old-fashioned entrepreneurialism is alive and well. Israel, just 60 years old and with a population of 7.1 million, has emerged as a model of entrepreneurialism that countries at all stages of development have tried to replicate.

A new book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, explores the culture behind Israel’s economic success. Senor, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former foreign policy adviser in Iraq and Qatar, has agreed to answer some of our questions about the book:

Q.Why is Israel the ultimate “Start-Up Nation”?

A.Israel has the highest density of tech start-ups in the world. More importantly, these start-ups attract more venture capital dollars per person than any country — 2.5 times the U.S., 30 times Europe, 80 times India, and 300 times China. Israel has more companies on the tech-oriented NASDAQ than any country outside the U.S., more than all of Europe, Japan, Korea, India, and China combined. But it’s not just about start-ups. Scratch almost any major tech company — Intel, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Motorola, and so on — and you will find that Israeli talent and technology play a major role in keeping these multinational companies on the cutting edge.

Q.In the book, you explore a number of explanations for Israel’s overwhelming economic success, one of which is the famous Israeli chutzpah. What exactly is chutzpah and what role does it play in Israel’s business culture?

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