With more than 2,000 students participating in entrepreneurial activities on campus and nearly 650 undergraduates taking academic courses in entrepreneurship, it's no wonder that BGU is ranked as one of the top 50 universities worldwide that produce the largest number of VC-backed entrepreneurs. By cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, exposing entrepreneurial potential, and demanding the same level of excellence in entrepreneurship as in any academic field, BGU provides students and faculty with an edge in the dynamic job market and a foundation from which to address Israel's challenges effectively.
Entrepreneurship All Around
Yazamut 360°, BGU's unique entrepreneurial initiative, functions as a layer of added value on top of the University's teaching and research and makes innovative thinking an integral part of almost every field. Recognizing that times have changed, and that everyone needs the ability to adapt, to re-invent talents, and to embrace the potential of new technology, Yazamut connects the challenges presented in the classroom and the lab to real-world skills that can advance both careers and Israeli society. Through training, guidance, mentorship, and collaborations with the wider Beer-Sheva startup community, Yazamut 360° has created an unmistakable, vibrant entrepreneurial atmosphere on campus, and helped to launch nearly 30 startups in just two short years.
Through its entirely student-run venture fund, Cactus Capital, Yazamut 360° offers undergraduates with big dreams but limited resources the opportunity to launch a startup while pursuing their degree. Successful student companies include Sightbit, which uses image-recognition technology and machine learning to offer lifeguards an up-to-date analysis of risk factors on the beach, and "Where's Defi?," an app that shows the location of defibrillators in public spaces to increase the chances of saving lives. Another Yazamut 360° program, Ecommerce 360°, teaches students everything they need to know to build a successful business on Amazon: product development, ways to negotiate with vendors, global logistics and regulations, marketing, and more.
The Leaders Academic Program, a partnership of Yazamut 360° and the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management (GGFBM), offers a select group of outstanding undergraduates a year-long academic course that combines classroom teaching with training activities and real-world experience. Subjects of study include strategy building, management, and leadership skills, while assignments can take the form of the production of a demo, presentations before panels of investors, and the creation of a persuasive pitch deck.
Together with IBM Alpha Zone, Yazamut 360° founded the Oazis accelerator to enable BGU researchers to establish deep-tech startups aimed at solving significant scientific and engineering challenges. Examples include an EEG system that alerts epilepsy patients before the onset of a seizure and a machine-learning tool for predicting a patient's response to a drug based on specific factors and their interrelations.
Last, Yazamut 360° has helped students to grow a range of entrepreneurship communities in the areas about which they're most passionate. Examples include WE for women entrepreneurs and BrainStorm, which connects entrepreneurial students of neuroscience with a network of innovators in the field for academic and professional guidance and partnership. The TOM (“Tikkun Olam Makers") community is part of TOM Global, a network of more than 70 communities around the world that work to create and distribute affordable solutions to challenges faced by the elderly, poor, and people living with disabilities. In its very first year, it organized a 36-hour marathon to build technological solutions for residents of the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village.
Thanks to its new hub, Yazamut 360°is now both figuratively and literally at the heart of campus, with a state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the centrally located Zlotowski Student Center. Its colorful, inviting facility—designed to inspire as much as to equip and educate—includes classrooms outfitted with a video-recording system, a shared workspace for informal meetings and brainstorming, and meeting rooms. It also features a quote from Pippi Longstocking on the wall that sums up Yazamut's optimistic, can-do approach: “I have never tried that before, so I should definitely be able to do it." Finally, with the construction of the Drahi Innovation and Entrepreneurship Building on our new North Campus, BGU can leverage the collective potential of all our entrepreneurship programs and enable still more collaborations with industry.
The Future of Innovation
In the years ahead, BGU aims to forge closer ties with local, national, and global industries and develop a range of internship programs to complement regular coursework. We also seek to establish novel research and educational initiatives in innovation and to help faculties across the University integrate entrepreneurial elements into their degrees. Together, these efforts will raise BGU's profile as a national and international leader in innovation, and help our students and faculty advance the Startup Nation, for the benefit of the entire world.
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