A few days ago, WIDE travelled to Tel Aviv as part of its first startup mission. The delegation of 13 women* included representatives of the ministry, ICT policymakers, startup incubators, coordinators and female founders from the Luxembourgish startup ecosystem. In Tel Aviv, they met with the leading members of the Israeli Startup scene.
by: Silicon Luxembourg
featured: WIDE’s delegation
Listen to article (Part I)
The purpose of the mission was to get to know the startup ecosystem in Israel, a.k.a the Startup Nation. WIDE’s delegation wanted to discover pillars of its success, its leading institutions, and organizations in the ecosystem in order to explore possible collaborations. Since WIDE’s mission is to support girls and women digitally, the team wanted to understand Israel’s landscape of female founders and women in Tech.
“We were able to discover the startup ecosystem in Israel, with concrete cases and a business-driven dimension. I was surprised to see that gender is an important subject, even if the issue is approached from the angle of integration in the broad sense. And, unfortunately, there isn’t much public policy on gender diversity as it is not a priority,” says Marina Andrieu, WIDE Co-founder and Director.
“We also learnt that in Israel, there is a word that synthesizes the state of mind of entrepreneurs, it is “Chutzpah”. It refers to accepting failure but always getting up.”
The delegation’s main priority was to meet with partners from the ecosystem, including entrepreneurs and investors (at a roundtable co-organized by Startup Nation Central and W2W and to hear more about the collaboration between these members.
“In Israel, 8% of entrepreneurs are women and they are only 4% of CTOs in 2019. This may not seem like much and in any case it is not enough in everyone’s opinion. Nonetheless, there are so many more success stories that are already starting to inspire others. A real change is taking place,” continues Marina Andrieu. “There are now 6,600 startups in Israel, of which 80% are in B2B. And, almost 500 investors are listed. We have discovered booming sectors, such as cannabis, where 20 Israeli companies are already listed. The key technology sectors are agri-tech, cybersecurity, e-health and life science. “We also learnt that in Israel, there is a word that synthesizes the state of mind of entrepreneurs, it is “Chutzpah”. It refers to accepting failure but always getting up. Something I’ll always remember,” concludes Marie-Adélaïde Leclercq-Olhagaray, WIDE Co-founder, President, and Communications Manager at Arendt.
Ayla Matalon, Executive Director – MIT Enterprise Forum of Israel gave the delegation insights into the history of entrepreneurship and the innovation scene in Israel. There are definitely certain similarities between the Luxembourgish and Israeli environments, as well as a lot of differences that could inspire entrepreneurs and politics to look for new solutions.
“We managed to gather a group of women representatives from Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem along with public and private participants for this mission.”
Listen to article (Part II)
We certainly feel that concepts implemented by the Israeli ecosystem could be transferred to Luxembourg. In terms of the situation of female founders, we can say that Israel is also struggling with a low number of female founders, yet they have some wonderful success stories and a strong community. We were pleased to hear that certain programs of WIDE including coding or STEM education are great tools to level the playing field for women. The key to attracting more girls to tech and entrepreneurship is kick starting education in these fields early. This is one of the outcomes from our discussion with Israel Advanced Technology Industries’ CEO Karin Mayer Rubinstein. “I am very happy to have supported this mission of WIDE, which allowed us to meet very high quality participants of the startup ecosystem in Israel. I am thinking in particular of Hilla Ovil Brenner, Karin Mayer Rubinstein and Elah Alkalay. Moreover, this has been an opportunity for Arendt to make itself known in this market and to create bridges with certain players with whom we are already planning a follow-up, in Luxembourg or Tel Aviv,” says Astrid Wagner, Partner at Arendt, and sponsor of the WIDE mission in Tel Aviv.
“We managed to gather a group of women representatives from Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem along with public and private participants for this mission. Meeting and learning from the Israeli ecosystem has only made us richer,” comments Marie-Adélaïde Leclercq-Olhagaray. “It should be noted that in the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem, there are strong connections between all participants. They work closely in all stages of the development and technological aspects. Investors take part in entrepreneurial thinking beyond fundraising, for instance. It is a process in which all actors play a role: investors, governments, universities, and entrepreneurs. We have been able to understand how Israel has become the nation it is today, through a historical and entrepreneurial perspective.”
“We must dare to come out of our comfort zone and this is clearly something we can improve on in Luxembourg. We need to teach our younger generations that working independently or creating your own company is a valid alternative.”
“I was also amazed by the strength of the women we met at Startup Nation Central. I believe military service has taught them to speak boldly under all circumstances and not limit their ambitions. Public speaking is an aspect that could be developed further in our schools in Luxembourg and earlier on in our curricula,” argues Astrid Wagner. “It is important for me to educate my two daughters so they become as strong and independent as those I met there. In the end, to embark on entrepreneurship, we must not fear the risk. We must dare to come out of our comfort zone and this is clearly something we can improve on in Luxembourg. We need to teach our younger generations that working independently or creating your own company is a valid alternative. This is a message that I personally seek to convey, whether through WIDE’s events or Jonk Entrepreneuren, in high schools.”
(*) WIDE’s delegation:
– Ann Godart (Luxembourg-City Incubator)
– Astrid Wagner (Arendt)
– Claudine Kariger (SMC)
– eLfy Pins (Supermiro)
– Erica Van Ossel-Leclercq (Farvest)
– Elise Patelet (Legalis)
– Gaëlle Haag (StarTalers)
– Florence Roux-Christmann (Thi’Pi)
– Magdalena Wesoly (WIDE)
– Marie-Adélaïde Leclercq-Olhagaray (WIDE, Arendt)
– Marina Andrieu (WIDE)
– Nicole Monti (Technoport)
– Vera Soares (Ministère de la Digitalisation)