April 2016, Volume 20, Number 2

Powerful Partnerships

Building a Bridge to Innovation

In May, The Idea Center at Miami Dade College in collaboration with StarTAU at Tel Aviv University will host an unprecedented conference exploring Israel’s unique tech entrepreneurial ecosystem and the reasons for its success.

The Startup Nation Conference aims to help bridge Miami’s tech and innovation community with that of Tel Aviv – the world’s second most successful innovation ecosystem after Silicon Valley. Through this high-impact event, attendees will be energized to unleash their creativity, and the business and entrepreneurial community will share knowledge and network to help foster innovation throughout the South Florida region.

The Startup Nation Conference was born from a recent Knight Foundation-supported exchange with Israel as part of Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee. A delegation of 12 influential Miami entrepreneurs and leaders in the tech community, including Idea Center Executive Director Leandro Finol, traveled to Israel in March 2015 to learn from the country’s dynamic tech and innovation sector while sharing best practices and making connections.

Since this trip, MDC’s Idea Center has taken the lead in continuing the relationship with Tel Aviv, including hosting an Innovation Nation event featuring Oren Simanian of StarTAU last August.

“The goal of the conference is not just to learn from the Israeli model, but to build a permanent bridge between Tel Aviv and Miami’s own budding startup scene,” Finol said. “During my visit to Israel, I had the opportunity to interact with some of the world’s best problem solvers. Miami will benefit from discovering their methods of coming up with creative solutions and succeeding at resolving the most pervasive issues in our community.”

The conference is open to students, local businesses and individuals with an interest in this topic. To learn more or to register, visit


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