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The Secret Sauce of Startup Nation

          Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett recently visited Korea during the Asian Leadership Conference 2023, where he left a lasting impression with his insightful lectures on defense, economy, and entrepreneurship. Bennett, who has previously served as Israel’s Minister of Defense and Minister of Economy, drew from his extensive military experience to emphasize the importance of finding innovative ways to accomplish missions effectively.

          During his visit, Bennett also highlighted the vibrant culture of debate that thrives in Israel. He explained that constant arguing and debating among Israelis are not signs of division but rather a means to achieve the best possible outcomes. This culture of expressing thoughts freely without fear of objections has become the cornerstone of Israeli entrepreneurship, fostering an environment where innovative ideas flourish.

          Israeli entrepreneurship is often characterized by a unique term known as ‘chutzpah,’ which gained popularity during Park Geun-hye’s presidency. Chutzpah encompasses audacity, daring, and a refusal to accept the word ‘impossible.’ While it may sometimes come across as brash or impolite to foreigners, it is an essential trait deeply ingrained in Israeli entrepreneurial endeavors.

          Bennett’s visit to Korea served as a reminder of the influential book “Start-Up Nation,” which shed light on the remarkable success of Israeli entrepreneurship. The book emphasized the seven spirits of chutzpah, including the practice of asking direct questions, nurturing a mix of imagination and creativity, and embracing calculated risks.

          Interestingly, Bennett’s own entrepreneurial journey was not without its setbacks. After completing his military service, he ventured to the United States in 1999 and founded his first company, experiencing initial failure before ultimately achieving success.

          The convergence of a culture rooted in chutzpah, a commitment to finding innovative solutions, and a willingness to take calculated risks has propelled Israel to become a global hub for high-tech innovation and startups.

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