NORTHEASTERN STUDENTS HELP ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN ENTREPRENEURS SUCCEED—TOGETHER—THROUGH HANDS-ON L
When you think of founding partners of a tech startup, you probably don’t think of Israelis and Palestinians working together. And when you think of their marketing consultants, you probably don’t picture college students.
But in the summer course “Bridging Conflicts, Creating Diversity: An Entrepreneurial and Marketing Experience,” that’s exactly what’s happening.
Co-led by professors Amir Grinstein and Daniele Mathras of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business as part of a partnership with tech accelerator 50:50 Startups, Bridging Conflicts pairs Northeastern students with startups that are co-founded by Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs.
50:50 Startups brings together startups that are co-led by Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs and helps them develop through courses and mentorship. For the ventures, the Northeastern course is the “icing on the cake” of the months-long program, Grinstein says. Over the course of seven weeks, Northeastern students are marketing consultants for their assigned startups, giving the entrepreneurs valuable feedback to help them succeed in their ventures.
The course also serves the larger purpose of helping to build relationships across the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as entrepreneurs work together to achieve a common goal. “It’s not taking away from the conflict,” Grinstein says, “but it just gives another perspective for people who are open-minded and interested in getting to know the other side, and are passionate about entrepreneurship.”
This year, nine different startups and 14 Northeastern students took part in the course, which emphasized collaborative, experiential learning. The students, who joined from as far as Oman, Columbia and Japan, had the unique opportunity to apply what they learned to real-life ventures.
“As we’re teaching things in class, they’re doing that right away on these projects,” Mathras says.
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by Jessica Taylor Price August 5, 2022