Training the next generation of entrepreneurs
Dana Gavish Fridman came to BGU after a career in high tech and a stint at the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She began considering moving to the Negev after a work meeting at BGU's Advanced Technologies Park. One brief glimpse was enough for her to realize she belongs here.
The unique Beer-Sheva innovation ecosystem, and especially Ben-Gurion University's central role in the region's development convinced her it was time. “I felt the need to be part of this remarkable project," she recounts.
Dana is a graduate of the Hebrew University, where she obtained a BA in political science and literature, and an Executive MBA specializing in integrated management. She moved to the business world after a first career in news production for Israel's Channel 2, the Associated Press, and Fox News. She learned about academic entrepreneurship through her work on technology transfer, that is, the commercialization of academic knowledge. What is that if not academic entrepreneurship!
After joining BGU, Dana began working to develop and position the University as a leader in teaching and fostering academic entrepreneurship. She founded the Yazamut 360o Entrepreneurship Center together with its chairman, Prof. Carmel Sofer from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management and the Inter-Faculty Brain Science School. Gavish and Sofer established four distinct programs and eight entrepreneurial communities, all initiated by highly motivated students. This is how the Cactus Capital student fund, the Oazis Venture builder and accelerator for researchers, and the Leaders academic programs came into being.
It is largely thanks to the hard work of Dana and her team at Yazamut 360o, that BGU is now seen as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship education. Just two years after its founding, Yazamut 360o is responsible for the establishment of over 30 new startups every year, and this is just the beginning.
A taste of Yazamut 360 programs
The Leaders Program is the result of a collaboration between the Yazamut 360o Entrepreneurship Center and the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. Its participants go through a series of workshops to develop personals skills and abilities and they even experience launching a technological initiative for the first time. Students from all BGU faculties may enroll in the program, managed by Gadi Bahat, a tech entrepreneur himself. And our students have already proven themselves worthy of the title 'Leaders': Carmel Ariel and her team won the 2020 Hackautism competition, for developing the AutiSleep system which helps solve sleep disorders among those on the autism spectrum; Omri Dahan won a national engineering competition to design technological Hannukiyot with a Hannukiya based on magnetic levitation and wireless electricity; and Adi Nehemya established the 'Safe Talk' initiative aimed at identifying victims of domestic violence.
As part of the training of entrepreneurs and promoting their initiatives, another flagship project was launched this year (in collaboration with IBM AlphaZone) – the Oazis Accelerator which supports initiatives based on technologies developed by BGU researchers. Twelve promising startups have already completed the first and second cohorts, and have already raised further funds for R&D. The Oazis accelerator is managed by innovation experts Julia Sagalin and Michel Assayag, in collaboration with BGN Technologies.
To learn more, go to WWW.yazamut360.com