Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ranks in the top 50 undergraduate programs worldwide in the production of entrepreneurs. Pitchbook's annual ranking put BGU at #49 for the first time this year.
This achievement is the result of a wide-ranging investment by the University in its students and faculty to develop an entrepreneurial approach. The Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management inaugurated an undergraduate entrepreneurial management degree for outstanding students this year and the other faculties are hard at work integrating entrepreneurial elements into their course offerings. The new degree program will include extensive internship opportunities.
BGU created Yazamut 360° - Changing Entrepreneurship Perception Among Researchers, Students and Staff to coordinate and facilitate entrepreneurial endeavors on campus. The center was founded with a NIS 6m budget from the Council for Higher Education. Yazamut 360° will catalyze the innovation ecosystem developing around the University in the years to come.
One of Yazamut 360°'s first projects was Cactus Capital – a venture capital fund to invest in student initiatives. The new fund has already trained 24 students as investment analysts through Fresh.ed in collaboration with Fresh.Fund; they conducted the first round of funding and chose nine ventures to invest in.
Another flagship project set to launch this month is the "Tapas" club – offering "nuggets" of information alongside degree programs. Club members will take part in a series of meetings focusing on a variety of topics: marketing, financing, human resources, technology, design and more, to acquire skills useful both in their current academic and future professional careers.
Looking farther into the future, Yazamut 360° is planning on creating two accelerators in 2020, one focused on technology entrepreneurship and one on e-commerce. The accelerators will serve as a resource for all of the entrepreneurs on campus – through professional mentoring, financial consulting, technological consulting and more.
Pitchbook, a financial data and software company with offices in London, New York, San Francisco and Seattle, tracked founders of companies that received a first round of venture funding between January 1, 2006 and August 31, 2019.
BGU has had 240 founders of 214 companies that received almost $3.5 billion in funding. The leading companies were: Exaware ($401.54m); Innoviz Technologies ($252m); JFrog ($228m); Valens ($164m); Moovit ($131.5m).
BGU moved up three places from last year to break into the ranking for the first time. The ranking includes storied universities such as Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
Yazamut 360° is headed by Prof. Carmel Sofer and Dana Gavish-Friedman. Sofer holds a joint appointment in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Industrial Management and Engineering Departments. He has 25 years of experience in hi-tech as an entrepreneur. Dana Gavish-Friedman is BGU's head of Entrepreneurship. The center provides students with a variety of courses, tracks and majors from the world of entrepreneurship, but so much more as well – internships, a thriving entrepreneurial community, support and tools, events, conferences, competitions and other platforms. Everything students need to take their first steps into the world of entrepreneurship.
The planning process for a stunning new entrepreneurship space to serve students, alumni and faculty is just ending.
Times of Israel