The Israeli Model: Mode for an Independent Scotland? Major Policy Implications

The New Scientist published a recent article “Ape Israel to build a start-up Nation” by Jessica Griggs in Edinburgh.  It suggested that much could be learned from the ecology and policies of Israel.  The Academic Entrepreneur gave a talk on this entitled “The Phenomenon of Global Technology Leadership:  The Israeli Model” in March of 2010 to the Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club and the Business School of the University of Edinburgh. See the event below, the description of which is thus archived here on The Academic Entrepreneur.  The slides for the talk are available as well below.


Israeli Model Michael Clouser 2010 Edinburgh

and on Vidiowiki:

Click to access m6h89gp%20m6h89gp.pdf


(is Vidiowiki still in business?)

Dr. Geoff Gregson of the University of Edinburgh had also done some research work for the Government of Scotland prior to this and explored the Israeli vs. Scottish models. (However, at this time, I can not find the publication online).

So the comparison between Scotland and Israel is nothing new, and the possibilities for emulation exist. The scene is Scotland is slowly but surely being set. Danny Helson, MBA, formerly Commercial Director at the Edinburgh-Stanford Link and now Project Manager of Informatics Ventures in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh points to the rapid rise in incubators between the period of 2006 and 2014 as evidence of the growth the of technology entrepreneurship ecology emerging in Edinburgh. So reads the New Scientist article:

So could Scotland follow Israel’s example? Scotland has fewer people – about 5.3 million – but it already has the start of a healthy tech scene. In 2006, Edinburgh had just three incubators – offices where start-ups can rent desk space, network and hold workshops. Now there are 17. Glasgow is not far behind. “It’s a pretty vibrant environment,” says Danny Helson of Informatics Ventures, a support network set up to work with start-ups spun out from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics.”

Jamie Coleman, PhD, of Codebase, which is destined to become Europe’s largest tech incubator, added

“… there are other things Scotland could do to imitate Israel, such as strengthen connections with the US and Canada”

As the Academic Entrepreneur is explaining here in his series on Innovation Policy and the potential for an Independent Scotland, there are a variety of policy levers available to Scotland to form a more vibrant “Startup Nation” and emulate Israel. These will be continued to be explored. However, it must be mentioned that the most powerful of these was explained by the Academic Entrepreneur in his 2010 talk to the Edinburgh audience: Immigration Policy.  A read of the book Startup Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Saul Singer and Dan Senor  (2009) confirms this fact. It was a rapid, massive, proactive and welcoming immigration policy that led to Israel’s ascension to the leader in technology entrepreneurship. Other policy considerations are worth taking note of as well, such as the country’s world-leading R & D expenditure, commitment to education, and venture capital interventions that has led to a healthy supply of entrepreneurial risk capital in the region. Cultural factors play large no doubt, the favorites of the Academic Entrepreneur being disregard for hierarchy, questioning of all authority, and the value of travel and exploration.

As the New Scientist article didn’t do the topic justice, look for an upcoming writing from the Academic Entrepreneur that will dig up the lessons conveyed in 2010, update them with examples and some statistics, and lay out the policy implications for the potential an independent Scotland vs. a further devolved Scotland. The time is ripe for such a writing, now that the Scottish Conservatives, the last major party to do so, have submitted their DevoJam proposal with its aggressive stance for tax devolution. The emulation of Israel for the purpose propelling of a healthy technology entrepreneurship ecology and thriving economy has major policy implications for an independent Scotland, starting with immigration and tax reform. It has far-reaching institutional reformations that will result in a bit of uncertainty, a bit of chaos, and a loss of power for the status quo. But such is the nature of spinouts.

The Academic Entrepreneur





————Archived  talk: 

The Phenomenon of Global Technology Entrepreneurship Leadership: The Israeli ModelEvent Summary:


 The Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club is hosting this event surrounding entrepreneurship, risk capital supply, innovation and public policy in the School of Business at the University of Edinburgh. The talk and discussion will run approximately from 18.30 to 20.00. Networking will round off the second part of the evening from 20.00 to 21.00. Members of the wider Scottish community are invited to attend and there is not charge for the event.Event Description:Israel, a small nation with a population of 7.25 million with no natural resources and in continous, war, has become a leader in global technology entrepreneurship. The acceleration is particularly bafflling over the last 20 years since Michael Porters “The Competitve Advantage of Nations” where he penned little about Israel’s global potential besides the fact that it had a small cluster of agricultural and defense-related innovation. On a per-capita basis, the State now has 80 times more startups than Europe, has attracted 30 times more venture capital than Europe, and twice the amount as the United States. On an absolute basis Israel has more startups than the whole of the UK, and more NASDAQ listed technology companies of any Country in the World besides the United States. Israeli entrepreneurs frequently turn up at networking events in the Silicon Valley, even at the very early stages of their company’s life, and leading venture capital firms such as Sequioa Capital on Sand Hill Road in the Silicon Valley that are seeking international branches in innovative, entrepreneurial hotspots go the other way and have opened up offices in Israel. However, Michael has discovered that many people in the business and academic communities understand neither why Israel has risen to be such a leader in this sector, nor what the Israeli Model looks like and what might be learned from it in order to be a more effective at economic development, policy making, or growing global technology companies. Thus the inspiration for this lecture. The picture is more complex and dynamic than the popularized myths or assumptions about the rising influence in the arena of innovation.

This talk answer these questions: “What are the key datapoints that point to Israel’s unrivaled success and how did it the State rise from its relatively unimpressive economic past?”; “What is the Israeli Model and what are its crucial components?”; “What can governments learn from the Israeli Model in developing innovative and entrepreneurial regions”?; and “What can entrepreneurs learn from the Israeli Model”?

In his talk, Michael will focus especially on the lessons that surrounded public policy and government intervention in the development of this phenomenon including those in research, development education, immigration, and the supply of entrepreneurial finance, especially professionally managed venture capital, in the Nation. , Also, the strategic actions and business models used by Israeli entrepreneurs to grow global businesses and access capital markets will be covered. Finally, the importance of flattened hierarchies, leadership training, and chutzpah will not be ignored as powerful elements in the model.

Jamia Jasper, MBA (Cornell), who is the founder and director of the American Israeli fund, will be joining the talk as well for a short discussion on Israeli equities and their attractive fundmentals for investors. She will be “piped” in via Skype from New York City. Jamia was recently interviewed by Bloomberg television, CNBC, and other leading financial publications and news sources as an market expert on Israeli investment opportunities

Government and university policy makers, politics, business and geography students and researchers, venture capitalists and investors, entrepreneurs, and anyone with an interest in the evolution of Scotland as a region of innovation and entrepreneurship, or with an interest in Israel itself, will benefit from this presentation.
About Michael Clouser

Michael Clouser has resided in Scotland since mid-2004 after relocating to Edinburgh from Silicon Valley. He works in the commercialisation of science in the School of Informatics.. He is also a Ph.D. Candiate in the Business School at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include new venture creation in the knowledge economy, innovation, industry-government-university interaction, triple helix models, entrepreneurship and innovation, international entrepreneurship, public policy and research policy. He has a keen interest in the Israeli Model and its use as a comparative instrument. Currently he is working on a programme surrounding public policy and the supply of entrepreneurial finance in an economy.

Recently Michael presented a research paper at the International Entrepreneurship Forum, and at the Babson Entrepreneurship Research Conference. Another paper was published in the September 2009 edition of the Journal of International Entrepreneurship. Michael is on the scientific committe of Triple Helix 8 to be held in Madrid this year.

Michael lived and worked in the Silicon Valley for five years. Previously he worked for the Palo Alto-based venture capital firm Dot.Edu Ventures, whose academic founder, the late Dr. Rajeev Motwani, was a Professor at Stanford University and and early investor and advisor to Google. At Dot.Edu he sourced seed funding deals and arranged follow- on rounds. Mike also served as CEO of Cornell- based Student Agencies Inc., during which time he helped incubate six companies, including Blackboard (IPO’d) and Jump, which was bought by Microsoft. Other experience includes that with eCornell, and e-learning spinout, and as a hotelier with Cendant and Four Seasons. Michael’s entrepreneurship experience includes founding six companies (research, internet and software). Mike holds an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University, a BSc from the Hotel School at Cornell University, and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh’s Business School (Entrepreneurship and Innovation focus).Event Starts:16 March 2010 from 06:30pmEvent Finishes:16 March 2010 at 09:00pmEvent Web Site: InfoContact Phone:0131.650.4436Contact E-mail:michael.clouser@gmail.comVenueVenue Name:School of BusinessVenue Address:University of Edinburgh 7 Bristo SquareVenue Town:EdinburghVenue County: Venue Post Code:EH8 9ALVenue Phone: Venue E-mail:+44 (0)131 650 9841Venue Web Site:


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