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Blog: Creating the cyber security capital of the world

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By Wendy Kerr

In my last blog I wrote about the rise and fall and rise of the start-up ecosystem in Jerusalem. Comparing this start-up experience with another start-up city, Be’er Sheva, we see an entirely different intervention. A small city in the south of the country with small economic output a decade ago, Be’er Sheva is now the fastest growing city in Israel.

Deemed to be the centre of cyber security in the country, it has new facilities for 30,000 cyber security workers. Unlike Jerusalem, which evolved its start-up ecosystem and success, Be’er Sheva was the result of a single-minded government intervention.

In the late 1990s, the Israeli Government determined that cyber security could be a significant threat to Israel. It defined cyber as the fourth frontier and created elite units in the Israeli Defense Force in cyber security. Recognising it needed leading-edge developments in this area, the Government also placed their cyber departments at the local university campus. A centre for cyber security was born.

Once this critical mass of research and development was established, more expertise was attracted into the area. Departing military staff from the elite cyber security units also opened their cyber security companies here to access the knowledge base, networks and talent. It quickly became the only place to work in the cyber security industry.

To further encourage companies to make their base in Be’er Sheva, the Government rewards companies with large tax incentives for seven years. The culmination of the university, government cyber headquarters and specialist companies have made Be’er Sheva into the thriving, expanding city it is today, resulting in $6 billion in revenue per year, and accounting for 10% of the global investment in cyber security.

As with Jerusalem, and the Made in JLM network, Be’er Sheva also has a cheer leader for the region. Cyberspark is an NGO and is charged with marketing Be’er Sheva as a global cyber centre. It has a goal to build the ecosystem through collaboration, networks and education. To encourage more companies to invest and establish offices there, it has created gateways to enter the ecosystem, including a service called Landing Pad which offers bespoke consulting for new companies wishing to come to Be’er Sheva.

As with the development of the thriving start-up scene in Israel, I saw here that it is the combination of many elements that build success. And isn’t that what an ecosystem is? A community of interacting, yet separate parties that are linked together. But unlike many ecosystems, Be’er Sheva has been created and driven with a single-minded purpose, consciously designed and supported by Government interventions for significant growth and impact.

So like culture in an organisation, it can just evolve, or be managed for better effect. Our mission here at the Centre is to provide the environment to unleash the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. I know all of us here are committed to consciously design this culture to enable as many as possible to embark on their journey of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Wendy Kerr travelled to Israel in May on the Trans-Tasman Business Circle innovation mission led by Spark CEO Simon Moutter.

Photo credit: Dani Machlis, Ben Gurion University.

 

Blog: Creating the cyber security capital of the world
Blog: Creating the cyber security capital of the world

social media

By Wendy Kerr

In my last blog I wrote about the rise and fall and rise of the start-up ecosystem in Jerusalem. Comparing this start-up experience with another start-up city, Be’er Sheva, we see an entirely different intervention. A small city in the south of the country with small economic output a decade ago, Be’er Sheva is now the fastest growing city in Israel.

Deemed to be the centre of cyber security in the country, it has new facilities for 30,000 cyber security workers. Unlike Jerusalem, which evolved its start-up ecosystem and success, Be’er Sheva was the result of a single-minded government intervention.

In the late 1990s, the Israeli Government determined that cyber security could be a significant threat to Israel. It defined cyber as the fourth frontier and created elite units in the Israeli Defense Force in cyber security. Recognising it needed leading-edge developments in this area, the Government also placed their cyber departments at the local university campus. A centre for cyber security was born.

Once this critical mass of research and development was established, more expertise was attracted into the area. Departing military staff from the elite cyber security units also opened their cyber security companies here to access the knowledge base, networks and talent. It quickly became the only place to work in the cyber security industry.

To further encourage companies to make their base in Be’er Sheva, the Government rewards companies with large tax incentives for seven years. The culmination of the university, government cyber headquarters and specialist companies have made Be’er Sheva into the thriving, expanding city it is today, resulting in $6 billion in revenue per year, and accounting for 10% of the global investment in cyber security.

As with Jerusalem, and the Made in JLM network, Be’er Sheva also has a cheer leader for the region. Cyberspark is an NGO and is charged with marketing Be’er Sheva as a global cyber centre. It has a goal to build the ecosystem through collaboration, networks and education. To encourage more companies to invest and establish offices there, it has created gateways to enter the ecosystem, including a service called Landing Pad which offers bespoke consulting for new companies wishing to come to Be’er Sheva.

As with the development of the thriving start-up scene in Israel, I saw here that it is the combination of many elements that build success. And isn’t that what an ecosystem is? A community of interacting, yet separate parties that are linked together. But unlike many ecosystems, Be’er Sheva has been created and driven with a single-minded purpose, consciously designed and supported by Government interventions for significant growth and impact.

So like culture in an organisation, it can just evolve, or be managed for better effect. Our mission here at the Centre is to provide the environment to unleash the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. I know all of us here are committed to consciously design this culture to enable as many as possible to embark on their journey of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Wendy Kerr travelled to Israel in May on the Trans-Tasman Business Circle innovation mission led by Spark CEO Simon Moutter.

Photo credit: Dani Machlis, Ben Gurion University.

 


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