Yeshiva University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 16 to unveil its brand new Innovation Lab. Located in Furst Hall, the Lab is host to a renovated office space that will serve as a hub for Israeli startups to collaborate with students at YU in a number of different areas of work.
Startups will obtain benefits tailored to their specific needs from students looking to receive hands-on experience, including legal advice in coordination with Cardozo Law School and potential investment opportunities, as well as access to faculty and industry experts.
“Israelis are great with technology, so they have the tech,” said Dr. Maria Blekher, the Director of the Innovation Lab. “The parts where they can benefit from our support and where YU can add the value is more the marketing, business culture.”
Students who choose to get involved will receive hands-on learning opportunities in fields such as theory and research. All students on campus interested in the Innovation Lab will have the opportunity to get involved, according to Blekher.
“There will be multiple ways that students can engage with the labs,” Blekher said. “You can attend a lab chair. There will be opportunities for internships. Israeli startups that are located in New York love to have interns from Yeshiva University. My goal is to make sure that every student that wants to engage with the lab will have the opportunity.”
According to israelimappedinny.com — a website that tracks the number of Israeli startups in NYC — there are roughly 320 Israeli startups located in the greater New York City area.
This past semester already saw YU develop connections with five different startups, four located in Israel and one in New York. The goal is to continue those connections and expand them enough to the point where the innovation lab is a university-wide program.The Innovation Lab was funded through a $350,000 grant procured by State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and former State Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder, who previously served as YU’s Assistant Vice President for Government Relations.