Miles S. Nadal Institute for Technological Entrepreneurship Inaugurated
What are the attributes of a successful entrepreneur? What drives talented innovators? These were some of the probing questions asked by new TAU benefactor and Honorary Doctor Miles S. Nadal at the inauguration of the new Miles S. Nadal Institute for Technological Entrepreneurship. The Institute will encourage innovation at the University, especially among the up-an-coming generation of creative thinkers and inventors.
New technologies arising from university-based research often get stuck at the early stages of development. As a result, many discoveries with promising commercial potential never make it out of the lab. Mr. Nadal's support will help ensure that more lab breakthroughs make their way into the real world and improve quality of life. It will also help enable the University to obtain fair valuation in the technology transfer and licensing process.
The Institute reflects Mr. Nadal's belief that entrepreneurship and innovation is the key to Israel's economic success. "Israelis have innovation in their DNA," he told a group of senior TAU officials, young entrepreneurs and gifted high-school pupils at inauguration which was held on campus during the 2012 TAU Board of Governors meeting.
A successful businessman by age 22, Mr. Nadal is founder, Chairman and CEO of MDC Partners, one of the world's leading global marketing and communications organizations, with over 50 holdings. He is a prominent leader in the Toronto Jewish community, and supports a range of social, educational and healthcare initiatives in Canada and Israel. Voted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999, Mr. Nadal has received dozens of awards for his contributions to society, among them the Human Relations Award (2001) and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto Harold Lederman Award for Outstanding Community Service and Philanthropic Leadership (2007). He is frequently invited to give guest lectures on entrepreneurship at universities throughout North America, and was recently keynote speaker at a Harvard Business School event.
At the inaugural meeting, Mr. Nadal heard presentations on TAU technology transfer and commercialization opportunities by Vice President of R&D Prof. Eran Rabani; former Vice President for R&D and current Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Trade Prof. Ehud Gazit, who spoke on his Alzheimer's disease research; and CEO of Ramot at Tel Aviv University Shlomo Nimrodi. Dr. Lia Levin of the Bob Shapell School of Social Work, Coordinator of the Israel Academic Forum for Social Enterprise, also spoke on a project she leads for advancing social justice.
Representatives of the younger generation at the meeting included members of StarTAU – the Tel Aviv University Entrepreneurship Center. Student Sofia Naftaliev spoke about BEE - Business Entrepreneurial Experience, a business development mentoring program for TAU students that she founded within StarTAU. This academic year the program accepted 37 students from among 115 applicants, and led to the formation of six start-ups.
Also participating were high-school pupils from the Future Scientists Program, a national initiative spearheaded by Israeli President Shimon Peres to groom Israel's next generation of scientists. The Initiative, which is coordinated by TAU's Dov Lautman Unit for Science Oriented Youth, takes in exceptionally gifted youngsters for a four-year intensive program of academic and research studies.
Answering Mr. Nadal's question of what lies behind his talent, 18-year old Ben Shenhar (pictured left), a fourth-year pupil in the program researching physics, said, "You have to really love what you are doing and believe in it. That love is what drives me forward."