Our first Live Conversation on April 16, featured a renowned Israeli tech entrepreneur, Mrs. Yael Rozencwajg and was attended by business professionals from Macedonia and the region. Mrs. Rozencwajg is a 20+ year entrepreneur with professional experience in London, Paris, New York and now she resides in Tel Aviv, where she leads Blockchain Israel. She discussed the impact that the crisis had on the economy, the SMEs and start-ups. “No one could predict this crisis, and now we have to deal with the social impact of it, while we utilize the new opportunities, and simultaneously make immediate decisions which are difficult to make. The psychological impact of the crisis on the entrepreneurs is enormous.” – she stated.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Israeli SMEs and start-ups were innovating, utilizing the resources in the most efficient manner and doing something new with limited resources. The Israeli companies are trying to help the country and the economy, instead of waiting for the country to help them. Israel, with its 300 R&D centers is very strong in innovation, digital, AI, deep tech, cybersecurity, technology, and education. The government and most of the institutions are more inclined towards adopting digital tools, so this is the reason why the Israeli companies are more prepared for the crisis.
“The good news is that there is money and VCs are investing. However, the key mistake that most start-ups are making is that they are raising money to solve issues they are facing in the short term, instead of trying to create new solutions or new industries.” – emphasized Mrs. Rozencwajg. “This is the time when we need to be aware of all the challenges that we have been putting aside and not resolving for a long time.” – she added.
We have spoken for a few months to flatten the Corona curve, now it is time to discuss the flattening of the recession curve. Mrs. Rozencwajg provided a few tips on what we need to do to revive the economy:
- Small countries need to focus on research and development, especially if they are based out of Europe and focus on collaboration.
- Building start-ups is not an easy thing, but the biggest companies such as UBER, AIRBNB, etc. have emerged from the previous financial crisis.
- Focus on product development and come out from the crisis with a product, a society-focused project, that not only will be relevant for the post-crisis period but will also be relevant in the next couple of decades in terms of digital services, communities, social enterprises.
- We have global data but a limited local market. Find solutions that are relevant for everyone and not only for a niche market.
- Focus on creating new social communities, innovations and healthcare and fintech.
- Respond to the crisis immediately but create a long-term plan for the next 10 years. Maintain plans post-crisis.
The speaker received numerous questions and the conversation was also enriched by the insights provided by Svetozar Janevski, one of the most renowned entrepreneurs in SEE. We are also thankful to Zoran Martinovski, IFC World Bank and Ambassador Dan Oryan for joining the online conversation.
The Online Conversation was organized by PrimePoint Partners and M6 Educational Center and was hosted by Biljana Markovic Stamenova, the Managing Partner at PrimePoint Partners.