Students at Carnegie Mellon University will get a glimpse into the inner workings of Israel’s Silicon Valley thanks to a four-day high-tech conference planned this month at the Pittsburgh university.
Tartans4Israel, an Israeli cultural and professional organization at CMU, is hosting the hybrid business conference from Feb. 24 – 27, with co-sponsorship from Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, CMU’s Tepper School of Business and Jewish National Fund.
Jordan Loev, a Houston-bred CMU senior who helped organize the event, said its inspiration was a similar event last year, though the 2022 version varies greatly in scope.
“This year, we wanted to expand it,” Loev told the Chronicle. “The plan was to make it a much larger conference — I wanted to bridge the gap between Carnegie Mellon and Israel.”
Israeli CEOs and business leaders — from Amiti Ventures to Bold Digital Architects to Livv.ai — are scheduled to share their experiences within high-tech industries ranging from “cleantech” (environmentally friendly technologies) to “medtech” (medical technologies). And Pittsburgh-area business leaders will talk about the differences Israeli innovation has made to their businesses and industries, Loev said.
In addition to Hillel JUC and JNF, Tartans4Israel is partnering with on-campus business organizations, such as Scottie Ventures, the Tepper Real Estate Club, Blockchain Club and the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association.
Loev hopes that, by attending, CMU students can learn about different industries, gain tangible business skills, seize the opportunity to network with entrepreneurs and develop an understanding of how Israel plays a powerful role in these industries.
“We have almost 30 speakers — it’s been a lot of work,” Loev said. “But we’ve been planning this since the fall.”
For the conference’s “make-a-thon,” Tartans4Israel is partnering with TOM Global (Tikkun Olam Makers), a global movement of communities that creates and disseminates affordable solutions to neglected challenges of people living with disabilities, the elderly and those in need.
Through that partnership, students will be challenged to create a prototype and business plan with a “real-world impact.” Students also will have the opportunity to submit their projects to the Abraham Accords Innovation Challenge, where they have the chance to win $3,000 and showcase their project at an expo in Dubai.
Dan Marcus, who heads Hillel JUC in Oakland, said the conference is a refreshing and pro-Israel moment for local academia.
“This is a great example of CMU’s Hillel being an integral part of CMU’s wider community,” Marcus told the Chronicle. “We’ll be providing an opportunity to engage with Israel in a way that’s meaningful and relevant to CMU students, showing the breadth of Israel’s technological engineering, bio-tech, expertise, and excellence. It’s a great opportunity to educate the Jewish and non-Jewish community at CMU.”
For more information, visit hilleljuc.org/high-tech/. PJC
Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.