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Incubating Innovation

It’s a smart space for start-ups.

Yeshiva University (YU) has opened a new technology lab, furthering a key partnership between New York and the State of Israel.

Located on YU’s Washington Heights campus, the YU Innovation Lab will provide a hands-on entrepreneurial space to help Israeli-based start-ups expand their U.S. market potential while leveraging YU students and faculty.

Yissum, the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is a strategic partner in the Lab, where four of Yissum’s startups are already participating.

University leaders, students, and local elected officials celebrated at a ribbon-cutting on Thurs., May 16.

The Lab is expected to become an incubator for student entrepreneurs and an innovation hub for Israeli startups ready to explore new markets in the United States, YU officials said.

“In addition to gaining access to our terrific pool of student talent, the Lab will offer participating startups access to NYC-based business and marketing experts, funding opportunities, advice from expert lawyers, and significant connections to New York City’s tech community,” said Dr. María Blekher, the Lab’s Founder and Director, and Clinical Associate Professor of Digital Studies at the University’s Katz School of Science and Health. “Down the road, we expect the Lab to help launch Israeli startups into the NYC business ecosystem, lead experiential learning at YU and drive entrepreneurship among students.”

YU LogoThe Lab has been largely funded by a grant received from the New York State legislature, as allocated by State Senator Todd Kaminsky.

“Supporting our students by investing in the creation of a first-class link to Israel’s vibrant economy is a win-win,” said Kaminsky. “I look forward to seeing the multi-faceted fruits of the Lab prosper, both here in our local community, and in the international community.

The Lab has also been incorporated into YU curriculum, including a class where students worked with Israeli start-ups to design successful business and marketing strategies.

“[This] will not only help the University but also the community,” said City Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez. “This opening will help Northern Manhattan further develop in STEM and tech fields.”

“Technology has become a fundamental part of our economy, providing new ways to educate, employ, entertain, and deliver services,” added State Assemblymember Al Taylor. “Now it is more important than ever that our students are equipped with the skills they need to enter the job market and become the leaders of tomorrow.”

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