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Edited by Ayala Malach-Pines and Mustafa F. Özbilgin
Chapter 22: Why Serial High-technology Entrepreneurs Don’t Burn Out
Ayala Malach-Pines and Gilat Kaplan Introduction Israel has an unusually high number of high-technology (high-tech) entrepreneurs and companies and is among the world leaders in high-tech start-ups. About 4,000 high-tech companies make Israel the largest concentration of high-tech companies in the world outside of California. Of these companies, 1,500 are start-ups. The phenomenal number and success of Israeli high-technology entrepreneurs has raised curiosity worldwide but relatively little academic research attention (Pines et al., 2004; Dvir et al., ch. 1, this volume; Dashti, ch. 20, this volume). High-tech industries depend on science and technology innovation that lead to new or improved products and services. The professional occupation most indicative of high-tech activity is engineering. Israel has the world’s highest number of engineers in its workforce – twice as high as the US and Japan. Israel also has one of the most educated workforces in the world, with 20 per cent of Israelis aged 25–64 holding academic degrees. Many high-tech professionals spend several years in the military either as officers or in highly sophisticated technical units, where they gain invaluable experience using advanced military-generated technologies that are Israel’s specialty (Dvir and Pines, 2007). High-tech entrepreneurs have a very high status in Israel, where in recent years the entrepreneur has become the newest cultural hero and role model, a figure to be respected and emulated by large parts of the younger generation (Lerner and Avrahami, 1999). In a study that included MBA students in Israel, the USA and Hungary, the social...
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