Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Israeli tech and innovation fair is better known as Start-Up Nation Technology Fair, a traveling exhibition that will be hosting an event locally at Rutgers University on November 3. In an effort to combat the recent upswing in BDS resolutions passed on campuses around the US, Start-Up Nation Technology fair is a proactive and positive initiative showcasing Israeli companies and their groundbreaking technologies.

The fair comprises two parts. The first is a trade-show floor, on which 10-15 early-stage

Israeli companies will exhibit their technologies, products and services. This is also an opportunity for Israeli tech companies to recruit paid and unpaid interns while meeting students face to face and collecting resumes. The second part of the fair, which varies by campus, consists of panel discussions, film screenings, or Shark Tank-style pitch competitions.

These events are apolitical. They do not touch on issues that stir controversy. Rather, they focus on (a) innovation, (b) education and (c) job opportunities for students. Each Start-Up Nation Technology Fair is sponsored by at least five student organizations and/or university departments that are not Israel or Jewish related. These organizations are typically business and engineering focused, bringing a broader base of students to the fairs. They can connect students with student organizers at each university.

Last year, these events averaged over 170 attendees with saw upwards of 500 at some campuses. They connected nearly 40 early-stage startups with students around the nation. Furthermore, 225 students applied for 50 internships with Israeli companies based in the US and Israel. Their mission is to enable students to see Israel “beyond the conflict,” through the lens of innovation and technology. They are building a pluralistic network of students under the umbrella of technology. Start-Up Nation Technology Fairs is an initiative of Hasbara Fellowships, Israel Ideas and the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs.