Ayelet Cohen 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Ayelet Cohen)
Hebrew University student entrepreneur Ayelet Cohen is one of four Israeli
delegates, including a Palestinian student, selected from the Middle East and
North Africa to study at the Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship
Fellowship Program, sponsored by the US State Department, at the University of
Cohen, a marketing manager at the Jerusalem Entrepreneurship
Center of Hebrew University’s student union, will spend the next four weeks
studying alongside 15 other student delegates from the Palestinian Authority,
Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
“I applied to learn more about US economic and
business models so I could work with different communities in Israel to help
them develop their businesses,” said Cohen via phone from her dorm room in
Michigan. “When I get back home, I really hope to implement everything I’ve
Cohen said she was inspired to work with the other student
“It’s really amazing to be here and a great opportunity because
I never met people from these other countries and I hope we can have meaningful
conversations and get to know each other,” she said.
have had an amazing three years with the Arab Spring and I’m inspired to work
with them and learn from them so future generations can live peacefully
According to Barbara Peitsch, a spokeswoman for the program,
the main goal of the fellowship is to expose entrepreneurs, small-business
owners, private sector development specialists and business educators from the
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to the best practices in innovation and
small-business growth in the US.
“Four participants from each country
will increase their understanding of the links between entrepreneurial activity
and free markets, as well as the importance of transparency and accountability
in business and government through first-hand experience in American small
businesses and entrepreneurship support organizations,” said
“The main objectives of the program are to provide participants
the opportunity to gain knowledge of US practices and techniques in their field
of expertise, explore governance principles and practices in both public and
civil society institutions in the US, and gain a deeper understanding of US
society, culture and people,” Peitsch continued.
The fellowship, which is
divided into two month-long sessions in April and October, provides students
with comprehensive strategies to promote youth entrepreneurship, primarily in
hi-tech fields within the MENA region.
Fellows participate in
professional development and team-building workshops about topics including
branding and marketing products; business plan writing; promoting
entrepreneurship in high schools and universities; the protection of
intellectual property; and financing entrepreneurial
Participants will then be required to develop and present an
action plan on how to apply their experiences to their own businesses and home
countries. The fellowship will conclude with a week-long international
entrepreneurship conference in Washington.
In the meantime, Cohen added
that her hosts at the University of Michigan have been exemplary.
people at the University of Michigan are really amazing and interesting,” said
Cohen. “We all have a lot to learn from them.”