‘Start-up Nation’ at the new JCC

Jack and Sue Perspective

‘Start-up Nation’ Comes to the Bryan Glazer Family JCC

We believe the new Bryan Glazer Family JCC that will be open on December 8, 2016 will be an extraordinary facility and a gamechanger for the Tampa Jewish community in many different ways. While the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation board and staff are  extremely excited by all aspects of new enterprise, there’s one component that has everyone especially intrigued by the possibilities it could create. Among several traditional JCC programs and functions, as well as some other decidedly non-traditional activities (that will be that will be at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC), the new JCC will be the home of a business incubator/accelerator for Israeli companies that are looking to launch some of their operations in the U.S. market.

Israeli’s start-up prowess

Israel, as outlined in the fascinating book, Startup Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any other country with the exception of the U.S. Tel Aviv also has the highest density of start-up companies in the world. In addition, despite being a relatively small country with only approximately 8 million citizens and still being a very young nation at just 67 years of age, Israel is the headquarters to such start-up giants as Checkpoint, a world leader in providing cybersecurity services that’s now valued at a cool $11 billion; Waze, an Internet mapping company recently sold to Google for more than $1 billion; and Conduit, Israel’s first billion dollar start-up which offers web toolbars and a web app marketplace used by more than 260,000 publishers in 120 countries. A recent survey of Israel’s start-up situation revealed that in 2013 alone, there were approximately 1000 new companies that were launched, making Israel one of the most productive start-up creators on earth, second only to the vaunted Silicon Valley. It’s important to note that because of Israel’s small national market, a very large number of its start-ups look abroad to expand. Traditionally, Silicon Valley, New York and Massachusetts have been among the most sought after landing zones for many Israeli firms. In 2012 alone, Massachusetts hosted more than 200 Israeli start-ups which generated more than $5 billion of revenue.

Why Tampa?

To quote Mayor Bob Buckhorn, “Today companies are choosing anywhere in the world they want to be, and they are choosing our city.” In the heart of the country’s 19th largest consumer market, the city of Tampa has a vibrant, diverse and welcoming economy. The Tampa business community is supported by the region’s world-class academic research institutions, an international seaport, an award-winning, user-friendly airport and the military headquarters for the United States Central Command. The area also boasts a wide-range of dynamic industry clusters, including information technology, banking and financial services, medical and life sciences, defense and security, bio and agro technologies, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, insurance, media and marketing, energy and more. Among other factors, Israeli entrepreneurs wanting to move to the U.S. should consider Tampa for the following reasons:
  • “Among America’s Best Cities” – Bloomberg Buisnessweek
  • “Top 10 for Job Growth” – Business Insiders
  • “2nd Best City for Young Entrepreneurs” – Forbes
  • “One of the best American cities to do business in” – KPMG
  • “Tampa is one of the most affordable cities in the country” – Forbes
  • “One of the Top 20 Best Cities to Live” – Livability
  • “#4 Most Affordable City in the U.S. For Young Urban Professionals” Locality.com
  • Ranks among the top areas for venture capital investment, listed at number 58 by the National Venture Capital Association among 160 national metropolitan areas. – National Venture Capital Association

Why the Bryan Glazer Family JCC?

Why not? The Tampa Jewish Community Centers and Federation is uniquely positioned to head-up a business incubator/accelerator for emerging Israeli firms looking to transplant some of their operations to the United States. Many of Tampa’s very successful business leaders and entrepreneurs are Jewish, as well as major philanthropic contributors to the JCCs and Federation. Some of these individuals have already pledged to support this new initiative with their business expertise and it’s anticipated that they and others in the community will also want to look at some of the transplanted Israeli start-ups as investment opportunities. In addition to the advice and support of local Jewish business leaders, the Tampa JCCs and Federation has long-standing, strong and diverse ties to Israel that can and will be accessed to facilitate the identification and recruitment of suitable Israeli firms to participate in the program. In exchange for providing an array of business support services, including facilitating access to venture capital, as well as offering relocation grants, the Tampa JCCs and Federation is planning to take a small equity stake in each of the companies it helps bring to Tampa. This is a financial model that has a generated a significant return on investment for many other business incubators/accelerators around the country and it’s realistic to think it will be successful here as well. Any funds that are generated by this initiative will be used to support the Tampa JCCs and Federation and allocated to other charitable purposes, including supporting our local Jewish agencies and Jews in distress in Israel and around the world. Stay tuned for more important announcements about this incredibly exciting project.

Alfred Goldberg

Alfred Goldberg is the President of American Operations for Absolute Mobile Solutions. Goldberg is a highly sought after speaker and educator on the topics of entrepreneurism and digital marketing. Dedicated to the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tampa Bay, Goldberg is on the board of Tampa Bay WaVe and is a regular contributor to a number of local events, including Startup Week.

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