Thanks to a generous $350,000 grant awarded by State Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Island), Yeshiva University will soon break ground on a new project at the Sy Syms School of Business that will allow students to gain hands-on experience working for Israeli start-ups while providing growing Israeli companies with a foothold in the American market.
Called the Israel Business Incubator, the venture will draw on the university’s unique connection with Israel to establish partnerships that will both foster the young companies’ growth and help students build strong networks as undergraduates. YU will create a space on its Wilf Campus in New York City where Israeli businesses can set up offices, staffed by student interns receiving faculty oversight and academic credit as they provide services that range from market research to financial forecasting and modeling.
“YU is a world-class institution that provides an excellent education to countless young men and women in our community. New York and Israel share an unbreakable friendship and strong economic and cultural bonds, which will be further bolstered by this venture,” said Kaminsky. “I was pleased to secure this grant, which will go a long way toward strengthening our state’s integral alliance with the Jewish homeland, while providing YU students with invaluable, first-hand business experience. Bringing Israel’s burgeoning start-up industry to New York will benefit New Yorkers and Israelis alike, and I look forward to seeing the impacts of this partnership resonate across our state and the globe for years to come.”
Michael Strauss, interim dean of the Sy Syms School of Business noted that the grant will provide YU students with invaluable hands-on business experience.
“During the year, the students will work with the founders of startup companies in areas such as marketing, finance, social media, code writing and every other aspect of scaling a business. During the summer, the students will be able to actually work in Israel at these companies,” said Strauss. “They will experience working in a team environment, see how decisions are made and gain leadership skills. It will complement and bring to life the concepts that they learn in the classroom.”
More than 3,000 YU alumni currently live in Israel—more than any other American university or college—and the university flies the Israeli flag on campus, making it the perfect center for a connection between Israel and New York State to flourish. For the Incubator’s first cohort of businesses, program faculty will harness the power of its vast alumni network in Israel to identify companies with strong growth potential and meaningful internship and job opportunities for students. The Incubator will create another firm tie between YU and Israel.
“Senator Kaminsky is a great friend to YU and our students and this award is another great example of his commitment to the families he represents and his tireless support of Israel,” said Avi Lauer, vice president for legal affairs, secretary and general counsel at YU. “The Incubator will grant Israeli companies a physical connection to the state of New York as well as much-needed assistance as they begin their expansion within the United States. Syms students will have an actual connection with the State of Israel and their innovative companies while accruing work experience and academic growth and credit. They will also begin making inroads with Israeli companies so they can leverage those relationships if they end up relocating to Israel after graduation. It’s a win-win for New York, Israel, participating Israeli companies, YU and its students.”
By Elie Klein