New Article: Golan-Nadir & Cohen, The Role of Individual Agents in Promoting Peace Processes

Golan-Nadir, Niva, and Nissim Cohen. “The Role of Individual Agents in Promoting Peace Processes: Business People and Policy Entrepreneurship in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.” Policy Studies (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2016.1161181

 

Abstract

Are individual businesspeople who operate as policy entrepreneurs willing and able to influence peace processes in conflict areas? The literature on businesspeople as policy agents shifts when talking about peace processes, focusing on group level activities and ignoring the effect of individual agents. We argue that rather than regarding businesspeople as a traditional interest group, we should consider the approaches to promoting change that strongly motivated individuals adopt as policy entrepreneurs. Based on interviews with senior Israeli businesspeople and decision-makers, we demonstrate how strongly motivated Israeli businesspeople promote peace as policy entrepreneurs. We identify their motivations, goals, challenges, and the strategies they use. The findings indicate that although motivated by economic profits, businesspeople undertake activities that may prove very beneficial to both themselves and society as a whole.

 

 

 

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New Article: Sofer & Saada, Women Entrepreneurs in the Rural Space in Israel

Sofer, Michael, and Tzipi Saada. “Women Entrepreneurs in the Rural Space in Israel: Catalysts and Obstacles to Enterprise Development.” Sociologia Ruralis (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/soru.12125

 

Abstract

This article examines 100 women and their enterprises in moshav-type cooperative rural settlements in the rural-urban fringe of Tel-Aviv metropolitan area, Israel, and analyses the catalysts and obstacles to development and expansion of such enterprises. Most of the businesses are small, in the personal and service sector, and based on experience in past employment. The majority are located in homes or unused farming structures and constitute the major source of household income. Major catalysts of development include the search for alternatives to waning farming income, self-fulfilment, and professional development; main obstacles are shortage of capital and lack of self-confidence in the ability to manage a business. The location is advantageous for fulfilling family obligations and saving costs, but problematic because of distance from central markets and intense local competition. The businesses play a crucial role in the survival strategy of rural households and help improve the quality of life and wellbeing in the region.

 

 

 

Thesis: Schaap, The Commercialization Gap for Cleantech Innovation in Israel

Schaap, T.A. An Explorative Study on Factors outside the Influence of the Entrepreneur that can explain the Commercialization Gap for Cleantech Innovation in Israel, MA Thesis, Delft University of Technology, 2015.

 
URL: http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uuid:71046301-1f96-408f-961f-e6c2aa881e8d/ [PDF]

 

Abstract

Background
The research is executed as a master thesis for the MSc program Management of Technology at the TU Delft and is conducted in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the state of Israel in Tel Aviv. The researcher has spent six months in Israel to perform this research and was subsidized by Climate-KIC to execute this research.

 

Problem statement and research question
This research is an empirical exploration of the influence of external factors on the commercialization process for cleantech Technology Based New Ventures (TBNVs) in Israel after these ventures have received seed funding. External factors are defined as factors outside the influence of the entrepreneur.
Literature has described the progression of TBNVs in different stage-based models, although these mainly describe the organizational development. This thesis uses models of Kazanjian et al (1989) and Vohora et al (2004) to describe the growth process of cleantech TBNVs and zooms in on the processes which cleantech TBNVs have to execute after they passed the credibility threshold (Vohora et al, 2004). This milestone reflects in the research by only considering cleantech TBNVs which have received seed funding and where thus deemed credible enough by their investors.
Previous research has named Israel the most innovative country in cleantech, but showed that there is a lack of commercialization of this innovation. The purpose of this research is to explore explanations for this phenomenon and test whether the factors distilled from the literature study can be found in practice and explain the phenomenon. Ten factors were determined based upon a literature study and these were tested by conducting field interviews and studying research reports. The overall research question for this study is:
Which factors, outside the influence of cleantech TBNVs, have consequences for the progression of cleantech TBNVs to the sustainable returns phase after seed funding has been received?
 

Research Process

Three angles were chosen in the literature study to determine external factors – markets, resources and policy. These factors served in general as a good framework for the practical exploration of the influence of external factors on the commercialization process of cleantech technology based ventures in Israel. The studied factors are accessibility of international markets, the need for high-paced growth, the need for an international network, availability of financial and human resources, risk tolerance of available financial resources, competition for financial resources with other fields of technology, the formal institutional regime for new innovations, the formal institutional regime for new sustainable innovations and perceived stability of the governmental policy by investors.
Empirical research was done in the form of two rounds of data collection. The first data collection contained semi-structured interviews with ten respondents who were (in)directly involved with cleantech in Israel. These respondents were from four different areas – business development, government (policy), late stage finance and venture capitalists and were interviewed about the aforementioned factors. The results from these interviews prompted a second data collection in two specific topics that were thought to hold more explaining value about the observed commercialization gap. These two topics included the availability of financial resources and related factors, the policy for innovation in Israel in general and the policy surrounding cleantech innovation. The second data collection contained another four semi-structured interviews on these specific topics and the study of reports on the topics.

 

Findings and conclusions
The results of the empirical research showed that all the proposed factors were relevant and influenced cleantech TBNVs in Israel, although the influence of some factors is more explicit than that of others. Especially the availability of financial resources which can be used to invest in technology development of cleantech TBNVs were found to be lacking. This can be explained by the high financial costs of technology development for cleantech TBNVs. The investment in such a project bears a lot of risk, which only a few types of investors can cope with – namely specialized, early-stage Venture Capitalists, business angels and the government.
Moreover, many cleantech TBNVs develop technologies related to the field of infrastructure which is a tough market for a start-up. Finally, the shift in policy relevant for cleantech TBNVs can be expected to offset investors, which also contributes to the lower amount of available financial resources.

 

Implications
Scientifically, this study contributes evidence to the validity of the applied theories in a specific setting – namely development of cleantech TBNVs in Israel. The conceptual model used in this study would be useful to explore similar research problems in other countries although a zoom into specific topics remains necessary. In this research the specific topics included policy relevant for cleantech TBNVs and the needs for funding for cleantech TBNVs.
Practically, this research has implications for entrepreneurs and investors in this field and for governments both in Israel and Europe. Entrepreneurs and investors in this field should realize themselves that they are in a precarious position due to factors like the high costs of technology development and instable policy that heighten the already high amounts of uncertainty that is currently surrounding the process of cleantech TBNV development. Risk reduction strategies should be high on the priority list of these actors.
Governments should realize that investors make investments with a five to ten year horizon and regulatory stability is therefore an important factor to take into account if one aims to increase in the sector. Especially the case which described the instability of the solar sector in Israel is an example of an increase in investment insecurity by governmental decisions.
Moreover, the financial resources necessary for most of the cleantech start-ups are momentarily simply not available. The Venture Capital investment model is only suitable for those start-ups that can achieve high growth rates, which can be difficult for cleantech start-ups. Making different financial resources available tailored to the needs of cleantech TBNVs, for instance via debt financing instead of equity financing should be a priority for the governments both in Israel and Europe. Previous research of EIM showed challenges in Europe to be similar to the challenges that have been found in this research.

 

 

New Article: Gold, Adaptation and Return among Israeli Enclave and Infotech Entrepreneurs

Gold, Steven J. “Adaptation and Return among Israeli Enclave and Infotech Entrepreneurs.” In Immigration and Work (ed. Jody Agius Vallejo; Bingley: Emerald, 2015), 203-29.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S0277-283320150000027022

 

Abstract

Purpose

Since the widespread adoption of the concept, transnational theorizing has attended to inequalities with regard to legal status, education, travel, and access to capital to understand the experience of migrant populations. This issue has become especially pertinent in recent years, as a growing body of journalistic and scholarly attention has been devoted to a new group of transnationals who work as entrepreneurs, professionals, and financiers involved in high tech and other cutting-edge economic activities. Regarded as among the world’s most powerful engines of economic growth and innovation, these entrepreneurs enjoy unprecedented levels of income, state-granted privileges (including permission to work), and access to elite institutions. Because of their level of resources, some observers contend that this group represents a fundamentally new category of immigrants distinct not only from labor migrants but also from merchants, professionals, and technicians.

Methodology/approach

To better understand their experience, this chapter draws on in-depth interviews and ethnographic research to compare two groups of Israeli immigrants living in Western societies: high-tech entrepreneurs and enclave entrepreneurs. Focusing on their economic and collective lives, it identifies similarities and differences among the two.

Findings

Conclusions suggest that the mostly male high-tech migrants do enjoy incomes, contacts, and access to travel that far exceed those available to labor and skilled migrants. Moreover, infotech immigrants are not dependent upon contacts with local co-ethnics that are vital for the survival of most other migrant populations. However, the communal, identity-related and familial concerns of infotech migrants are not completely amenable to their considerable resources. Accordingly, as they address these matters, their experience reveals significant similarities to those of migrants bearing a less privileged status.

Research implications

Collective, familial and identificational issues play central roles in shaping patterns of work and travel among high-tech transnational entrepreneurs. As such, these issues deserve continued attention in studies of global migration and work.

Originality/value

Research is based on a multi-sited ethnographic study of Israeli enclave and infotech entrepreneurs.

 

New Article: Bijaoui & Regev, Entrepreneurship and Viral Development in Rural Western Negev in Israel

Bijaoui, Ilan, and David Regev. “Entrepreneurship and Viral Development in Rural Western Negev in Israel.” Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship 17.1 (2015): 54-66.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JRME-09-2014-0023

 

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to focus on two main and related issues: evaluating whether the required entrepreneurial capabilities are present according to Gladwell’s law of the few in the Western Negev region of Israel and identifying the economic development model that can generate a viral development.

Design/methodology/approach
In this paper, McClelland’s classification was used to evaluate the level of motivation in the region and Gladwell’s law of the few classification was used to understand the potentially positive effect of each entrepreneur on the others and on economic development in general. To evaluate the personal and business capabilities of each entrepreneur, two groups of parameters, one describing the personal profile and the other describing the business behavior of the entrepreneurs, were used.

Findings
Most entrepreneurs are ready to cooperate with the open incubator and to contribute to generating common business interest, but mavens and connectors have few of the required personal characteristics and business attitudes. Only the salesmen have the required personal profile, but they lack the necessary business attitude. Highly motivated entrepreneurs, at need-for-power level, have both the required personal profile and business attitude. They are the ones who could generate growth, and a portion of them have the characteristics to become mavens, connectors and salesmen.

Practical implications
The willingness to cooperate with a neutral organization and generate common economic interest is present in the Western Negev, but the following actions are required to achieve viral development: persuade and support entrepreneurs at the highest level of motivation to be a part of the few, i.e. mavens, connectors and salesmen; improve the business attitude of mavens, connectors and salesmen; and plan the work program of the open incubator in cooperation with entrepreneurs at the need-for-power level: mavens, connectors and salesmen.

Originality/value
Viral economic development can occur if the few mavens, connectors and salesmen in a given sector or region have the required positive personal profile and business attitude, and if most of the entrepreneurs are ready to cooperate with a neutral organization, the open incubator and join efforts with others to generate new common business interests.