I read a fascinating post the other day about the emergence of a massive tech scene in Israel – they’re even calling sites within Israel Silicon Wadi (a play on both Silicon Valley and Wadi, the Arabic word for a valley).

If New Zealand is looking for a model to follow it could do worse than to follow this one. Israel provides great tax incentives to tech companies, has an unequalled commitment to educations and a hyper-driven bunch of people who want to get ahead. They’re also isolated – both geographically and politically – just like New Zealand.

Israel is also a resource poor nation, again like New Zealand. One thing however that Israel does not have at all is a “Bach, BMW and Boat mentality” rather it is, as I mentioned previously, full of the most ambitious, focused and aggressive people on earth.

And therein lies the rub – would we (New Zealand) as a nation really want to become like that, even if we could?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • I have to agree with the post. Having worked in a US / Israeli startup – Bidorbuy.com, I can atest to this approach. Once a upon a time, Israel was seen as one of US key R&D centres. (Now India, China, and Eastern Europe have emerged) NZ needs a strong US connection and cross pollination with the Valley. We don’t have a strong enough connection with VC / Angel scene there. We need to start making those connections if we want to succeed.


  • Falafulu Fisi |

    John said…
    Once a upon a time, Israel was seen as one of US key R&D centres.

    IBM Haifa Israel.

  • Scotland: Silicon Glen.
    Israel: Silicon Wadi
    Ireland …
    Germany …
    etc. etc.

    Lots of competition re. tax incentives for hi-tech/bio-tech, etc.

    But yes, it needs to happen, but we need an entreprenurial culture to go with it and despite what people say, I see little evidence that New Zealanders have the aspiration to achieve nor do we hold in high regard people who do achive.

  • I think kiwis have the aspiration to succeed. But to start a company, in any form in NZ, you have to be prepared to risk a lot.

    I have listened to a number of top entrepreneurs, and they all say “Failing was a key to success”. In NZ, we detest failure in any endeavour. We forget that failure is the process of learning to succeed.

    We need to support entrepreneurs through those failures. In Silicon Valley, failure is expected as a process of learning to be an entrepreneur. How do we make entrepreneurship (and the failures that go with it) an acceptable career choice here?

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