Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center have been awarded NIS 10.8 million, to be distributed over the next four years, as part of the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology’s new grant program “Knowledge Accelerator". The grant program's main goal is to encourage   entrepreneurship by investing in university faculty. The money will be allocated to the University's entrepreneurship center, Yazamut 360, to create “The Lab Pre-acceleration Program” which will support applied basic research in its early stages. It will focus on research with the applicative potential to become the basis for a company or be developed as a product line.

The importance of universities in the start-up world

Universities play a central role in supporting innovation and entrepreneurial activities. They have the power to provide the conditions and facilities for their student talent. Such facilitation and collaboration can foster an endless amount of breakthrough ideas, which is why it is so important for governments to remain invested in university entrepreneurial activities. With the right backing, students have a system in place where they can develop new ideas, which may be theoretical at first, but can be put into practical use with the proper assistance.

Ben Gurion's new “Lab Pre-acceleration Program'' will work in conjunction with Yazamut 360's Oazis accelerator, which works with the university's tech transfer company, to focus on pairing academics with entrepreneurs to create deep-tech companies. Nearly 20 companies have already been formed, and most have already received significant investments.

Prof. Carmel Sofer, chair of Yazamut 360 said that "Yazamut 360 at Ben-Gurion University was among the first to identify the need for structured, in-depth entrepreneurship training for researchers and early-stage funding of applied research. The new "Lab" program will complement our Oazis accelerator, and thereby promote basic research to the industry and enable the formation of dozens of amazing start-ups based on the deep technologies developed in the University's laboratories." It is these kinds of initiatives and government investments that help Israel to establish itself as the Start-Up Nation.

Yazamut (“entrepreneurship” in Hebrew) 360° was established in 2018 to connect entrepreneurship to a diverse array of disciplines, while promoting entrepreneurship skills to empower students, researchers, and staff in every field and from every community. Yazamut 360° initiates over 25 start-ups per year.