The plenary session was in charge of** Ayla Matalon**, current Executive Director – MIT Enterprise Forum (Israel). Ayla joined the MIT Enterprise Forum with 15 years’ experience in high-tech and venture capital. Ayla is an adjunct Lecturer (high-tech entrepreneurship) at the Technion, Herzliya Interdisciplinary and Tel-Aviv University.
Ayla Matalon started her lecture “Making the Impossible Possible: Pillar of entrepreneurship” asking people in the audience their relationship with entrepreneurship. She highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship nowadays. Lately, companies created by entrepreneurs generated great number of jobs, more than half, and are also responsible of a great number of innovations. Innovation is the hardest to produce, so usually big companies tend to seek for the help of smaller companies.
She mentioned the things we need to thrive entrepreneurship; first and most important, we need to eradicate the idea that failing is wrong. We need to tolerate failure in order to achieve success and create innovative products. It is important to build a social infrastructure, with flexible people and capable of adapting.
Ayla presented her country, Israel, as an example of success. Innovation is growing, and this is evidenced by the growth in the number of engineers in the active population and the increasing amount of entrepreneurs that are taking chances and creating new companies. She also highlighted the importance of having appropriate institutions that support entrepreneurship and innovation, such as Tel Aviv. Also, government should not turn down multinational companies for it is them that teach and train professionals to be the next entrepreneurs. For her, an important characteristic of Israel is that its entreprises encourage their people to think out of the box, and that there are no 6, but 2 degrees of separation between its people.
To continue, she outlined the challenges that entrepreneurs face in their way to success: finding an appropriate idea and funding are important, but the greatest challenge they have is not being able to determine if an opportunity is such or not, and updating business plans according to the course the future may take.
Finally, Ayla Matalon ended her speech by stating that entrepreneurship is highly contagious and addictive, and that it is important to encourage people around us.