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BGU Launches $1 Million Venture Fund for Students

BGU Launches $1 Million Venture Fund for Students

May 23, 2018

Press Releases, Robotics & High-Tech

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) President Prof. Rivka Carmi has announced a $1 million BGU Entrepreneurship Fund (BEF), the first of its type established by an Israeli university.

The student-led fund will provide students and recent graduates with micro-grants to jump-start innovative technologies and concepts.

The Fund was announced at the SilicoNegevBGU conference, the largest entrepreneurship event in Israel’s southern region, held yesterday at BGU in Beer-Sheva.

“Ben-Gurion University has made a strategic decision to formally designate entrepreneurship as one of its engines for growth, as part of its collaborations with key players in the Beer-Sheva ecosystem and the Ben-Gurion Advanced Technologies Park adjacent to the University’s Marcus Family Campus,” says BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi.

Initially, students will be invited to take a class in identifying and investing in promising technologies. Students who graduate will have the opportunity to join the BGU Entrepreneurship Fund’s investment committee and become campus scouts for new grant candidates, together with industry leaders and BGU’s management. The Fund will invest annually in dozens of student groups.

“The primary purpose of this fund is to serve as an educational tool to encourage innovative ideas both in the high-tech and biotech fields, as well as in the social arena,” says Dana Gavish-Fridman, vice president for entrepreneurship, BGN Technologies, the BGU technology-transfer company. “Leveraging entrepreneurship as an engine for growth at BGU will create a ripple effect in regional and national development as the University educates Israel’s next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders.”

To focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, BGU established the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2001. Today, BGU’s evolving ecosystem of innovation also encompasses many other University entities and activities focused on innovation, including initiatives such as “20-80”, a student-led entrepreneurship forum at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences; “Starter”, a cross-faculty student club for promoting entrepreneurship; the “Rothschild Cube,” a hub for social entrepreneurship; and Inno-Negev, a technology accelerator. BGU also partners with the Tech7 community, which represents startup companies in the Negev region.



By supporting a world-class academic institution that not only nurtures the Negev, but also shares its expertise locally and globally, Americans for Ben-Gurion University engages a community of Americans who are committed to improving the world. David Ben-Gurion envisioned that Israel’s future would be forged in the Negev. The cutting-edge research carried out at Ben-Gurion University drives that vision by sustaining a desert Silicon Valley, with the “Stanford of the Negev” at its center. The Americans for Ben-Gurion University movement supports a 21st century unifying vision for Israel by rallying around BGU’s remarkable work and role as an apolitical beacon of light in the Negev desert.

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev embraces the endless potential we have as individuals and as a commonality to adapt and to thrive in changing environments. Inspired by our location in the desert, we aim to discover, to create, and to develop solutions to dynamic challenges, to pose questions that have yet to be asked, and to push beyond the boundaries of the commonly accepted and possible.

We are proud to be a central force for inclusion, diversity and innovation in Israel, and we strive to extend the Negev’s potential and our entrepreneurial spirit throughout the world. For example, the multi-disciplinary School for Sustainability and Climate Change at BGU leverages over 50 years of expertise on living and thriving in the desert into scalable solutions for people everywhere.

BGU at a glance:  

20,000 students | 800 senior faculty | 3 campuses | 6 faculties: humanities & social sciences, health sciences, engineering sciences, natural sciences, business & management, and desert research.


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James Fattal, J Cubed Communications


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