Israeli Entrepreneurs Must Think Globally From Day One
Since the late 1980s, Israel has steadily grown into a force among the international business and tech communities. This country, roughly the size of New Jersey, has generated thousands of startups, brought game-changing innovations such as MobileEye and Waze to the market and garnered billions in funding from investors. In fact, more money has been invested in Israeli startups than startups in all European countries. It’s a marvelous achievement given Israel’s size, population and relative youth as a country (Israel was established as country in 1948). What’s even more impressive is that they’ve achieved business success despite a number of extenuating circumstances, including limited natural resources and hostile relationships with neighboring countries. Israeli startups have learned, over time, to think globally when they are launching a venture, which has ultimately led to their success. Here’s a more detailed look at the factors that led Israeli startups to position their products and services globally from day one.
Israel has a population of about 8.1 million people. In contrast, the Los Angeles area is home to 18.5 million people. With such a small population, Israeli entrepreneurs are forced early to consider international markets to facilitate long-term growth. An example of this concept lies in the success of Teva Pharmaceutical. When faced with what they considered a revenue ceiling in Israel, they implemented a strategy to tap foreign markets using some of the tactics that had worked at home. The results? In 2012, Teva garnered more than $20 billion in revenue.
Due to its location, Israeli startups don’t have the luxury of marketing its products to customers in neighboring countries. Relations with the Arab countries surrounding Israel are often hostile so the prospect of building a regional brand is not a factor. To combat that, Israeli entrepreneurs have grown accustomed to creating their products with American, European and Asian consumers in mind.
Upon adulthood, many Israelis are required to join the Israel Defense Forces (armed services). This not only exposes them to a vast amount of next generation technology, it breeds a culture of leaders that see challenges instead of problems. Innovation and entrepreneurship are built into the psyche of many Israelis. They often leave the military with the drive and training to build successful enterprises.
Israelis often question the “status quo”. While this can be frustrating for some, it’s through questions that you explore what hasn’t been done, which ultimately leads to innovation and problem solving. Chutzpah is a way of thinking. It’s an upmost faith in self, despite the odds or what’s been said. It takes chutzpah to believe that your products are better than others in another country. Or that circumstances (or countries) around you can’t limit you. Or that your size or population doesn’t define you. It’s the chutzpah of the Israeli people that led to their incredible growth within the business community. Chutzpah is not something that runs out or evaporates, it just fines new applications and new mountains to climb.