The future of global entrepreneurship comes to Israel

These young leaders – the vast majority of whom have never been to Israel – find themselves captivated by this country, often to their surprise.

Forbes "under 30" summit.  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Forbes "under 30" summit.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Across the planet, political winds are blowing inward, from Trump’s tariffs, to Britain’s Brexit, to immigration restrictions far and wide. Entrepreneurship, however, does not crave such isolationism. Quite the opposite: large-scale growth demands markets as frictionless and borderless as possible. Given that politicians globally have never seemed more myopic or dysfunctional, while entrepreneurs over the past decade have created more innovation, jobs and wealth than any period in human in history, Forbes, which now has local editions in 40 countries (including Israel), stands squarely with the latter group.
That’s why this week, at the first-ever Under 30 Summit Global, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, we’re doing something unprecedented – bringing together more than 700 of the best young entrepreneurs from across the entire world, from 38 different countries, culled mostly from our worldwide 30 Under 30 lists. Whether India or Italy, Australia or Azerbajian, Malaysia or Malta or Macedonia or Mynamar (and yes, huge swaths from the US, China and the UK), ideas will supersede passports, and bridges will be built with the potential to last 50 years or more.
We chose to debut this event in Israel for four reasons. First, the history: this region has always been a global crossroads for culture, religion and commerce. Second, the mindset: the Startup Nation ethos defines this first generation of digital natives. Third, the track record: after hosting two wildly successful Under 30 Summits here, both focusing on EMEA attendees, we know these young leaders – the vast majority of whom have never been to Israel – find themselves captivated by this country, often to their surprise. And finally, the purpose: we know we can make a positive difference from having been here.
Yesterday, we kicked off with a focus on the power of women. The female 30 Under 30 honorees – led by Bar Refaeli, a formidable entrepreneur in her own right – opened the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, followed by a series of inspiring talks from young women entrepreneurs. Today, our all-day program features our biggest speakers, thinkers and mentors, from local stalwarts like Uri Levine and Yossi Vardi to celebrity names like Amare Stoudemire and Dr. Ruth, with a focus on shifting ideas into reality.
On Tuesday, we’ll create commerce, as the best VCs from Israel and the world provide a funding roadmap to our army of startup founders, and then engage in literally hundreds of business-matchmaking sessions. And on Wednesday, we’ll give back, mentoring the best nascent Israeli and Palestinian social entrepreneurs. In between, we’ll explore the country and indulge in a late night or three, which is when the best ideas often spring up.
The net result, we hope, will be a few things the world needs more of: international collaboration, uninhibited ideation and the promise of entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most intractable problems. An optimistic road to the future will be laid this week, with the first stones put down here in Israel.
The author is the chief content officer and editor of Forbes.