Students looking to start new businesses always have TAMID

To gauge student interest in TAMID, the George Washington University chapter held a fair showcasing Israeli startups. | Supplied by Ari Krasner

To begin the next great enterprise requires certain skills. An aspiring entrepreneur needs to know how to pitch, how to fundraise — and how to find people who can help them get their business off the ground. At George Washington University and two dozen more American campuses, there’s a club for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop these skills, whether they hope to work in the U.S. or in Israel: TAMID Group.

TAMID, named after the Hebrew word for “always,” is a nonprofit organization that arranges internships in Israel for American students. Founded in 2008 at the University of Michigan by Sasha Gribov and Eitan Ingall, students in the program, which has 30 campus chapters in the U.S. and Israel, develop their knowledge of finance and consulting, according to the organization.

The most recent TAMID chapter was founded last year at The George Washington University in D.C., where the organization’s national headquarters are located. There are currently 24 students in GW’s chapter.

“I was motivated to start a TAMID chapter because I was very passionate about the mission,” said Hannah Finkel, a sophomore and one of GW TAMID’s cofounders. “I believed that this was something that could really thrive at GW.”

As GW TAMID’s president of education and programming, Finkel helps the chapter organize events throughout the school year.

“I hope participants can see the value in the organization. It really gives students valuable experience and the chance to have professional experience while still in college,” Finkel said.

This summer Finkel will be in Tel Aviv as part of the TAMID fellowship, which is an eight-week competitive internship program that allows TAMID participants to work with Israeli companies such as WIX and OurCrowd.

In order for a TAMID chapter to exist on GW’s campus, the national board of the organization asked Ari Krasner, a sophomore and the chapter president, and his co-founders to prove student interest in the new chapter. To demonstrate significant interest, GW TAMID’s founding board partnered with Israel Ideas, as well as over 24 on- and off-campus organizations, to host the StartUp Nation Innovation Fair. What Krasner said was “the largest [national] TAMID event ever” showcased products from 14 Israeli startups, including Glide, an app for live video messaging; Zeekit, an app that allows a customer to see how clothes look on them before they buy; and Alcohoot, a breathalyzer that can operate through a smartphone. The event was attended by over 180 students, Krasner said.

Krasner told New Voices via email that TAMID offers a number of benefits to students, primarily in the fields of finance, marketing, PR, management, consulting, and leadership, as well as networking connections with industry leaders.

“We seek students that are motivated, hardworking, and passionate about business. We also look for students that believe in TAMID’s mission, and that can bring something unique to our chapter,” he said.

“It doesn’t hurt if you are an entrepreneur — as we have several established company founders in our chapter.”

He gave one example: Liran Cohen, GW TAMID’s vice president of marketing and technology, is also the CEO of Nifty LLC. According to the chapter’s website, Nifty LLC is “a company dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s tech problems through beautiful and simple applications.”

According to a 2009 profile in The Jewish Week, the organization was founded as a response to the increasing number of Israel divestment campaigns on campus — the group was originally named TAMID Israel Investment Group — but now identifies itself as apolitical and non-denominational.

TAMID Executive Director Yoni Heilman told New Voices via email that while the organization doesn’t have statistics on how many participants go on to work in entrepreneurship in America or Israel, most continue to work domestically.

“I do know of a number that have gone on to work in Israel — one student works in Israel for a Palo Alto-based [venture capital firm] that invests in Israeli companies,” Heilman said. “Another recently left his job in NYC and moved to Israel. A third is taking time off from working for an extended stay in Israel, as he works on a startup.

“To be clear, we do not promote aliya. However anecdotally, we do see some students that are now working in Israel.”

 

Correction: This article previously stated that there are 16 students in GW TAMID. There are 24.

New Voices regrets the error.

 

Jackson Richman is a student at The George Washington University.

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