‘Start Up Nation’ author Dan Senor to speak at Wash.U on Israel’s entrepreneurial success

Dan Senor: Co-author of ‘Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle’

How did a nation of 7.1 million people, with no natural resources, only 60 years old and constantly at war with its neighboring countries, produce more start up companies in the high tech fields than Japan, China or India, and attract two and one-half times the amount of venture capital than the United States?

Authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer believe they know the answer, which is detailed in their 2009 book, “Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.”

Senor, a Middle East and Persian Gulf geopolitical expert, advisor to President George W. Bush, and adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, has studied the flourishing of entrepreneurship in Israel and attributes its great economic transformation to a number of disparate but significant factors that has created just the right environment.

Senor will open the Assembly Series’ spring 2011 program schedule at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2 in Graham Chapel, on Washington University’s Danforth Campus. It is free and open to the public.

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That “perfect storm” environment Senor writes about includes a liberal immigration policy that welcomes engineers and scientists from around the world; a conscription policy that develops 18-year-olds into mature adults with leadership and technical expertise; the institution of important economic reforms and a stable economy; and perhaps the most essential ingredient: the Jewish cultural attribute called “chutzpah,” which gives Israeli citizens the resilience to rise above life’s hardships and an innate assertiveness to question conventional wisdom.

All these factors combine, according to Senor, to create a citizenry who embrace risk and innovative thought – two necessary ingredients to building a strong start-up nation.

Washington University sponsors for the Senor program include: WU Students for Israel, Jewish Student Union, Chabad Student Association, St. Louis Hillel at Washington University, Delta Sigma Pi, and the Olin Business School. In addition, the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Israel Business and Technology Committee (JCRC/IBTEC) and the Mildred Herbert and Julian Simon Foundation are co-sponsoring the event.

For more information, visit assemblyseries.wustl.edu or call 314-935-4620.