Public Release: 

Ben-Gurion U. announces first Israel entrepreneurship fund of $1 million

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

BEER-SHEVA, Israel...May 23, 2018 -- 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."

Students will initially 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.


About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit to learn more.

AABGU, which is headquartered in Manhattan, has nine regional offices throughout the United States. For more information, visit

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