Entrepreneurship week in the south: ₪50 billion to be invested in the Negev
The Entrepreneurship Conference at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev opened the International Entrepreneurship Week in the south.” OR Movement CEO, Roni Flamer: “It’s enough that two or three entrepreneurs leave this conference and set up a new enterprise – they will push the Negev forward.”
Published: December 2011
“People have become accustomed to perceiving the Negev as an employment and business wasteland, but people will invest here, and they are already investing enormous sums of money which will change the face of the Negev and serve as an engine for growth for the entire country.” This was said several weeks ago by the OR Movement’s CEO, Roni Flamer, at the Entrepreneurship Conference “Entrepreneurship will Emerge from the South,” held by the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Hi-Tech Management, in cooperation with MATI (the Business Development Center) Be’er Sheva, the Business Center at the Be’er Sheva municipality (Ya’adim), the OR Movement, and the Doris Pacey Charitable Foundation. “The IDF’s move to the Negev is a process in which ₪23 billion is being invested. Just the training base alone will bring a huge number of parents each year that will come to visit. They have already widened the road leading there, to four lanes, to meet the need and avoid future traffic jams,” said Flamer. “We need to build a hundred events halls just to feed the amounts of soldiers who will move to the Negev.”
Flamer continued reviewing the projects which serve as a platform for new enterprises in the south: “There will soon be a motor park built at Hazerim, with an investment of ₪100 million. The park will employ 450 staff and include interesting tourist attractions. There will be twenty-five new factories and an additional hospital for the Negev at the Idan Hanegev industrial park which will be built in cooperation with the Lehavim, Bnei Shimon, and Rahat regional councils. What was once a fantasy is today becoming reality. “It’s enough that two or three entrepreneurs leave this conference and set up a new enterprise – they will push the Negev forward.” The ‘Entrepreneurship will emerge from the South’ event opened the International Entrepreneurship Week in the south. Mayor Rubik Danilovich, Rector of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Professor Zvi HaCohen, senior representatives from MATI Be’er Sheva, the Bengis Center, the OR Movement, the Doris Pacey Charitable Foundation the Halutz non-profit organization, the Jewish Agency’s Ness Loan Fund, Rotem Industries Ltd., Daroma-Tzafona, Koret Economic Development Funds, the Be’er Sheva Business Development Center, as well as leading businessmen from the area, participated in the conference. The conference included several interactive workshops, panels, lectures, ‘Enterprises over a cup of coffee’, and tips for every entrepreneur interested in beginning a business in the south. Throughout the event, the entrepreneurs were presented with options and what the future holds for enterprises and innovation in the Negev.
There were also lectures during the conference by the mayor, Mr. Rubik Danilovich, Zion Biton, CEO of MATI Be’er Sheva, and the Director of the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Hi-tech Management, Professor Dafna Schwartz.
At the conference Mayor Rubik Danilovich reviewed the range of opportunities which have currently opened up in Be’er Sheva in particular and the Negev in general. He noted the development of the Hi-tech Park, which was built with the cooperation of the Be’er Sheva municipality and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, on an area of 20,000m2. Rubik also presented the investments in Be’er Sheva which are currently reaching ₪1.5 billion, an unprecedented record. The mayor mentioned the belief that investors and entrepreneurs, who see the potential contained in the city, share for Be’er Sheva.
Zion Biton, CEO of MATI Be’er Sheva said that MATI sees great importance in providing advice and support to new entrepreneurs so that they will succeed and thereby also become factors in employing additional workers. Biton explained that most of the employment in the world is based on small businesses, and therefore is of primary importance in encouraging and supporting small businesses as leverage for the city’s growth.
Director of the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Hi-tech Management, Professor Dafna Schwartz, said that the events are inciting great public interest. According to her, there was plenty of demand for the first event – “Entrepreneurship will emerge from the South” – organized in cooperation with regional and national bodies. Around 300 entrepreneurs and directors from the south and approximately 200 students participated. About 250 adolescents with around 50 students and other advisors will participate in the Young Entrepreneurs event. Dafna Schwartz mentioned the importance of cooperation between the various elements in the city, which are turning the event into a regular and special tradition.