Less than 3 years ago, a group of ten San Diego donors, the Jewish Federation of San Diego, and our Sha’ar HaNegev partners founded the most unique tech incubator in all of Israel – SouthUp. SouthUp is being used as the model by the Israeli Innovation Authority for their issuance of a Request for Proposals to communities throughout the country. In fact, SouthUp will host the training and information session conducted by the Israeli Innovation Authority for the southern region of Israeli for the RFP that has been issued.
On February 25, 2019, SouthUp and Shanghai Zizhou Entrepreneurial Incubator Co., Ltd. signed an International Partnership Framework Agreement that calls for the joint cooperation in supporting startups in each other’s markets, investor relations, establishing investment funds, etc.
Over a dozen regional municipalities in Israel have visited SouthUp in an effort to learn how SouthUp was initiated, how it works, and how it continues to operate. Literally all of Israel has heard about SouthUp, including the Hack-a-Thon that it organized with the goal of finding innovative solutions to the incendiary balloons that have been sent from Gaza to burn the fields.
This non-profit incubator, with two locations in Sha’ar Hanegev, currently has 21 companies enjoying the benefits of being a part of this endeavor. Besides being a driving force for employment and economic growth in the region, SouthUp provides educational and internship opportunities to Sapir College and Shaar HaNegev students.
Currently, we are working with individual investors and foundations to develop a social impact investment fund that philanthropists and venture equity investors can make investments to in support of startup companies. Access to this fund will be another advantage and benefit to SouthUp companies that will enable SouthUp to grow even further.
It is truly inspiring what a small group of dedicated individuals from San Diego and Sha’ar HaNegev have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. With relatively little financial resources to start, continual security issues to deal with, and terrorist activity literally on its doorstep, SouthUp now employs four staff people and has an impact that is exponentially greater than its size.
The Jewish Federation is proud to support this type of innovative project, especially as it reinforces our deep and lasting relationship with the Sha’ar HaNegev region. To learn more about SouthUp and to see how you can help and become involved, contact Larry Acheatel, or Wolf Bielas.
To learn more about SouthUp and see the latest newsletter please click here.
By Larry Acheatel, Chair of Israel & Overseas Council, Federation Board Member, & Co-Founder, SouthUp