• "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainability in Israel"

    What will students gain from this program?

    • Students will learn about innovation and entrepreneurship in the fields of IT, medical and bio-tech, as well as clean technology, water and sustainability, using experiential learning, company visits, meetings with government and economic leaders and a special focus on hands-on experience including a project with a startup company.
    • The course will enable students to understand the conditions for the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in a global context and the specific roles and programs of government in accelerating these activities (investment in education, role of the military, government supported incubators).
    • Students will gain real time experience in developing and presenting a business plan for commercializing a global technological innovation in the US (or other global) market considering both the downstream side (the market) and the upstream side (the suppliers) in the context of a hands-on, team-based project with a real company.
    • Students will explore the past and the future in a visit to Israel: from historic Jerusalem (and the sea of Galilee), the birth of the world’s monotheistic religions and center of ancient times, to Israel today and “the city that never stops”, Tel Aviv, one of the world’s biggest hubs for entrepreneurship and innovation.

    Academic Program Overview

    Described as the “Start-up Nation”, Israel has the highest number of start-ups per capita in the world as well as the highest number of patents. However, most of these startups are being bought at an early stage by large companies rather than develop themselves into large organizations. This is defined sometimes in Israel as the Innovation to Implementation (I2I) gap. The goal of this course is to explore this gap as well as try to manage it through a hands-on project that will help Israeli start-up companies commercialize their technology in the US market.

    As part of the course the students visit local businesses such as Battery Ventures (one of the leading VCs in Israel), Naan Dan Jain (one of the world’s leading water drip irrigation manufacturers), Teva (the world’s largest generic drugs company) as well as meeting entrepreneurs from a variety of industries. The students will also visit subsidiaries of international companies conducting R&D in Israel such as Google and Microsoft. Additionally, students will visit the Israeli parliament and meet with members of parliament and government officials from the ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of finance and also visit the Supreme Court and meet one of the supreme court justices.

    Lastly, the course will include visits to historical sights, and discussion of Israeli society and politics in the Middle East.

    Consulting Project

    As part of the program the students will conduct a hands-on project where they will be paired with an Israeli start-up company and work with them to help with their strategy to penetrate the US market. The project will be conducted in about a four weeks period starting before leaving for Israel and commencing at the end of the GBE.

    A large part of the project work will be done during the time at Darden as part of the Global Innovation and Technology Commercialization course. The project includes three stages: company and industry analysis, market research and analysis, and recommendations and action plan. The first two stages will be conducted during the stay at Darden, while the last stage will be mostly done in Israel.

    Every year, we work with many exciting startups. For example, one of the startups we worked with this past year, Parko, was chosen as one of the top six Israeli startups to watch following the Waze purchase by Google.

    Faculty Lead

    Gal Raz


    Arrive: 2 May 2015

    Depart: 15 May 2015

    Host Partner

    WorldStrides provides logistical support.

    What have students said about the program?

    "The Israel GBE perfectly balances business, politics, entrepreneurship, and learning — and it is led by a native Israeli, which gives it the true Israeli essence."

    "Israel was always a country that was high on my priority list to visit. This program did a great job combining my interest in entrepreneurship with education while fulfilling my desire to experience and learn about Israel. I don't think that I could have planned an individual trip to the country where I would have been able to experience nearly as much as I did in the amount of time we were there."

    "The program provided a 360-degree perspective on Israel. Excellent mix of business, tourist, religious, social experiences with wonderful guest speakers across the Israeli social spectrum."

    "The balance of entrepreneurship, political, business, and interpersonal learnings was perfect — and to top it off, it was planned by an Israeli Darden professor. Do this trip if you're interested in Entrepreneurship."

    "A remarkable program that provides a challenging entrepreneurial project while being immersed and learning about Israeli culture."

    "It was an unbelievable experience and opportunity to see the historical sites of Israel combined with real world practical experience working with an entrepreneurial venture. Our tour guide was fantastic — a perfect combination of fun and informative. All in all I definitely recommend it to anyone considering a GBE."

    "By consulting with local entrepreneurs, meeting with government officials, touring 2000-year-old religious sites, or enjoying Tel Aviv's beaches and nightlife, the Israel GBE gave me a comprehensive understanding of Israel's unique culture and extraordinary story."

    What have past companies said about Darden student contributions to their consulting projects?

    "I liked the regression analysis the group did when finding affordable prices for service using the total budget big companies use for online activity."

    "I enjoyed it, and I'm taking with me some of the group's suggestions."

    "The work done was very professional and interesting."

    "It was a real pleasure sharing ideas with the team and observing their interest and understanding of our needs and the American solar thermal market. It feels like they were doing this research for a long time."