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welaunch is a U.S. based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization promoting Israeli startups and innovation within U.S. cities as a new paradigm for economic development, community engagement, entrepreneurial education and social impact.

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Values & The Startup Nation

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BY MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN Government officials, industry leaders and corporate executives from the Midwest are hoping to cultivate economic development between Israel and “Silicon Prairie”: Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. A group of 10 interested individuals will be in Israel from May 6-10 on a joint mission of Israel’s Economic Mission to the Midwest, Jewish National Fund and the newly developed welaunch nonprofit entity, which aims to promote commerce, investment and partnership...

It’s not luck or coincidence that some regions become flourishing business communities in a particular sector. Detroit is known for automotive expertise, Silicon Valley for tech, Hartford for Insurance, Switzerland for watches, Germany for engineering. Take a look at Israel, a country that’s celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is the size of New Jersey and has a population of 8.5 million. Israel has more than 5,000 startups, averaging 640 new startups per year dating back to 1999 – the...

In 1867, Mark Twain visited the Holy Land and gave this report:  "Israel is a desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds…a silent mournful expanse…a desolation…we never saw a human being on the whole route…hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country." In less than 70 years Israelis have transformed this country from barren deserts and a "desolate expanse," into...

In seventy brief years, Israel has ascended into the modern miracle of the Start-up Nation. The Israeli economy is bustling. Israeli innovation is flourishing. Israeli technology is everywhere, in everything and transforming the world for the better. And Israeli contributions to humanity in research, science, academics, arts, culture...

Today, on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), hundreds of Israeli entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers and the like, are filing into offices and co-work spaces across Israel, like mine here in Ra'anana, called WOPA (the welaunch HQ in Israel). And as they walk in the doors they will likely see Holocaust memorials like the one featured in the above picture (taken in my lobby). Later in the day these men and women, like Israelis across the country and Jews across the world, will stop for...

As Passover begins, Jews around the world will gather at their seder (holiday) table to tell the ancient story of the Exodus, and the journey Moses and the Israelites made from slavery to freedom. As many will recall, the climax of the story occurs when the Israelites, being pursued by Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, come to an impasse. Their escape route is cut off as they have run smack into the Red Sea. Their demise seems all but certain. So what...

If you haven't guessed by now, a core part of the welaunch mission is to educate the world regarding Israel as, "The Startup Nation," and it's inspired startup ecosystem and inspirational technological innovations. However, in order to understand The Startup Nation it's imperative to understand the people who started up, and continue to lift up, this nation. And to understand them you have to understand their lives, their culture, their calendar, their values, their psyche - all of which I...

Once the musician, Arthur Schnabel, was asked about his musical mastery to which he responded, "The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides." In Israel, every Saturday (aka "Shabbat"), I think of this quote as "the Startup Nation" transitions into the Slowdown Nation. It isn't about religion (most Israeli's aren't religious and don't think of Shabbat in religious terms). But nearly everyone slows down, unplugs, unwinds...