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RETHINKING STARTUP ACCELERATION

BY REVITAL RAUCHWERGER

I was privileged to join Gvahim over a year ago. Coming from a high-tech and venture capital background—and inspired by the arrival of new immigrants and returning residents to Israel— the opportunity to work with Olim entrepreneurs is a dream come true.

(Note: in this article, “Olim” includes new immigrants and returning residents)

Gvahim was a pioneer on the Israeli accelerator scene in 2011 when it established TheHive for high-tech startups in Tel Aviv. At that time, it was one of only a handful of accelerators in Israel. Gvahim continued to lead when it established TheNest—an accelerator for small businesses and freelancers—in 2016.

Since then, however, the landscape has evolved dramatically, with nearly 200 accelerators operating now throughout Israel.

So, soon after joining Gvahim, I decided to talk with many of our alumni entrepreneurs to gauge whether we needed to update our accelerator model.

In addition to a desire for a more practical hands-on approach and continual mentoring (during and after the program), I discovered, not surprisingly, that the relatively long programs—five months for TheHive and two and a half months for TheNest—meant candidates ended up waiting months for an opportunity to apply to successive programs.

 

It was time to rethink our approach to accelerating startups.

After much consideration, we decided to discontinue TheHive and TheNest programs—and brands—in Tel Aviv.

Committed to helping Olim succeed with their businesses, we reaffirmed our value proposition to provide an Olim-friendly, 100% English-language, international—our Alumni immigrated to Israel from over 70 countries—entrepreneurial framework.

We rebranded and established the Gvahim Entrepreneurship Center (GEC) in Tel Aviv. So what’s new? The GEC provides intensive five-week business acceleration programs that help international entrepreneurs develop their ideas into viable businesses, and taps into Gvahim’s extensive network of mentors, experts, alumni, and investors.

By offering a few short, focused programs throughout a given year, we aspire to assist larger numbers of entrepreneurs in shortening their time-to-market and time-to-success. Moreover, the programs comprise a mix of both high-tech and non-high-tech startups.

The GEC officially launched in August 2019 with 12 startups, and will run again in December 2019.

Alumni entrepreneurs continue their journey with Gvahim. Not only are they using our network to seek advice, recruit employees, and reach out to investors; they’re also serving as lecturers, mentors and advisers to entrepreneurs that participate in our programs.

Israel’s entrepreneurial growth and success are world-renowned. We at Gvahim are privileged to do our part in supporting it.

For more information regarding Gvahim’s entrepreneurship programs in Tel Aviv, please contact me at: revitalr@gvahim.org.il

Closing event for TheHive Tel Aviv #9 (the last TheHive Tel Aviv), held at Google for Startups in Tel Aviv 30.5.19
First GEC Business Acceleration Program – August 2019