16 Dec

Did you hear the one about the Jewish grandmother who took her grandson to the beach. If you attended IN OUR OWN BACKYARD presented by MIDC, the  Maryland/Israel Development Center, a non profit organization promoting trade and investment between Maryland and Israeli business and research institutions, you would have heard the joke delivered by the MIDC chairman, a technology business lawyer. The joke goes- wave comes along and sweeps the grandson in to the ocean. The distraught grandmother beseeches God to return her grandson. Another big wave comes along and drops the grandson off at her feet on the beach. Grandmother looks up at the skies and says, “…so… He had a hat…?”

MIDC hosted IN OUR OWN BACKYARD at the Horowitz Visual and PerformingArtsCenter and HowardCountryCommunity College in ColumbiaMaryland. MIDC executive director Barry Bogage, comfortable in his role as event host in the Monteabaro Theater after guests and entrepreneurs mingled at displays and sushi in the Grand Hall. “I’ve done it before,” said Bogage. Abba David Poliakoff, chairman of the MIDC Board, read an excerpt from Israeli investor Roni Einav book, ‘From Nordau to Nasdaq’ giving insight into Israel’s success in technological entrepreneurship- part of it is chance; part is belief in dreams; part is the courage to improvise; parts is the willingness to lose and knowing that without taking any steps- an entrepreneur wont lose, nor will they win. Einav, who signed books for attendees after the event, delivered the keynote speech to gathered Israeli and American entrepreneurs. 

Einav was introduced by Lior Shilat, Embassy of Israel’s Director of Investments. Shilat told attendees his day job is at the World Bank. Shalit, dressed in young techup’s costume of casual and crease, shared Israel’s secret sauce earning it the nickname Start Up Nation. Shilat said Israel’s 20 years olds lead armies of highly trained 20 year olds in a culture unafraid to fail, a culture that fears not trying, raised with Chutzpah engaging cleaning staff comfortable at telling a CEO what they are doing wrong who, the CEO, will then go back and entertain the cleaning person’s idea as being meritorious. And if listening to the cleaning staff isn’t enough, Israeli startups bask in the love and support of Jewish mothers and a 2000 year plus culture rich in faith and tradition of striving for education and excellence. 

Einav said there is no magic to miracles other then getting started, thousands of decisions, some right, some wrong, some you know right away will work and some that will suffer along the way but they are decisions that were made.  Einav said Israel’s army succeeds for the same reason technology percolates in Israel- talent, willingness to improvise and knowing failure is ok. 

Boggage explained the unique role of MIDC when he began the speeches. MIDC is a gateway from Israel to Maryland, a gesher, a bridge, of business. Attending companies based in Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Springs, Baltimore and other Maryland locations, included Cast TV, Medispec, Optical Diagnostics, My Pango and Kensington based Equivio  Am Yisroel Chai, the nation of Israel lives, in Maryland


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