Tel Aviv is the place to be

If you were offered a four-week adventure to walk some of the oldest streets known to humanity, to taste some of the best food of your life and to experience the excitement of startup culture firsthand, what would you say?

The Tel Aviv Startup Adventure is just such an offer. Located in Tel Aviv, Israel – aka ‘The Startup Nation’, this program equips and empowers young innovators and entrepreneurs by providing them with a fully funded scholarship and an internship in a startup.

In 2017 I partook in the UQ Idea Hub's Summer Session, a six-week practical program aimed at cultivating and strengthening students in innovation and entrepreneurship. Through it, I also met influential startup founders and became aware of many incredible opportunities. One such opportunity was the Tel Aviv Startup Adventure. After vetting our applications and an interview, the UQ Idea Hub was pleased to offer 14 UQ students, including me, an internship with a Tel Aviv based startup as per our interests and career focus.

Amit Regev, Vice President Product and Co-Founder of Flytrex, kindly took me as an intern for the duration of my stay in Israel. The startup employed drone tech to specialise in commercial delivery. While there, I worked alongside an aerospace engineer in the hardware department, testing, breaking and manufacturing the necessary hardware. Furthermore, I learned how the startup broke into new markets, when and how they sort Venture Capital (VC) funding and other essential aspects of the startup. Many valuable experiences came from the local people I was privileged to meet, the exquisite cuisines I was thankful to try, and the fantastic places I frequented during my role at Flytrex. Undoubtedly, I am exceptionally grateful for my time at such an ingenious startup.

James interning at Flytrex

When not working, the other UQ students and I took advantage of Israel's plentiful happenings. These included witnessing the great nightlife, taking day trips to see the country and partaking in historical walking-tours organised by the Tel Aviv University. On other occasions, we visited Jerusalem, travelled north to the Kinneret, and cycled to Ramla. It was evident that wherever we went held substantial historical significance. It would have been hard to not have come away from this country changed.

As part of the Tel Aviv Startup Adventure, we had the opportunity of attending networking events at SOSA, The Floor, WeWork, Google, Wix and many others. A great value in these casual-business meetings lay in the high concentration of founders, co-founders, VCs and advisors all in one room to meet other entrepreneurs and innovators. The contacts made in these meetings could likely play a part in one of my future businesses. Additionally, we met the Australian Ambassador to Israel who shed light on his role and duties as ambassador, some of his previous experiences and the relevance of his position to us, as entrepreneurs, should we have our startup located in Israel.

Picking Tel Aviv as the location for UQ Idea Hub's program was an excellent choice due to the city's proliferation of the national startup culture. So normal it is for these people to run a startup, that one in every 280 people have their own or are part of one. In effect, this changes the mindset of the nation and dramatically simplifies the launching of startups by reducing the fear and stigma of failure that can often hinder Australians.

On returning from the Tel Aviv Startup Adventure, I am grateful to say that I will pursue my innovations with greater clarity and boldness. Israeli culture and friendships profoundly impacted the way I problem solve and view startup ideas. Thus, I have grown and changed from international influences and, expectantly, I will continue these friendships for a lifetime.

The UQ Idea Hub is the place where all enterprising UQ students should go to meet incredible people and learn practical skills needed to conceive a startup. The excellent staff and facilities add value to anyone interested in the innovation scene.

Last updated:
20 December 2019