A town in Israel

How Israel has become a start-up nation

Since its founding in 1948, Israel’s economic and technological development has been impressive. Despite having only 8.4 million inhabitants, the country has become a major high-tech player. When it comes to cyber security, Israel is home to more than 300 companies, making it a global leader in this area as well. And Tel Aviv and Silicon Wadi are considered one of the world’s most important and vibrant ecosystems for start-ups.

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There are many reasons for Israel’s success as a start-up nation. Not only has it implemented a long-term policy to promote innovation in the business world, financial industry and higher education, the close cooperation between the government, private sector, military and civil society is also driving things forward. Another key contributor is the country’s unique historical, geographical and cultural situation. One example: the influx of engineers, academics and other highly skilled individuals that took place after the fall of the Soviet Union.

A new phase has been launched with the Digital Israel program, which pools various initiatives to give them a broader foundation. In addition to promoting business and research, a number of focus areas have been defined to emphasize social issues. Broadband Internet access and e-government services are being expanded, for instance, and greater investments are being made in educational programs.

In order to award the 2017 Reinhard Mohn Prize on “Smart Country – Connected. Intelligent. Digital.” the project team examined exemplary digital projects and applications around the world. The focus was on areas such as such aswork and the economy, health and care, policy and public administration, mobility and logistics, and learning and information. A key part of the selection process is research carried out on site in select countries. In addition to Israel, the team visited Estonia, Austria and Sweden.

In order to shed more light on each country’s efforts to go digital, we have visualized key background data, allowing the four selected countries to be compared to each other and to Germany.