High-tech conference to ‘bridge the gap’ between CMU and Israel

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Carnegie Mellon University students will get a glimpse into the inner workings of Israel’s Silicon Valley through a four-day high-tech conference scheduled for this month at the University of Pittsburgh.

Tartans4Israel, an Israeli cultural and business organization at CMU, is hosting the Hybrid Business Conference February 24-27, with co-sponsorship from the Hillel Jewish University Center in Pittsburgh, CMU’s Tepper School of Business, and the Jewish National Fund .

Jordan Loev, a Houston-raised CMU senior who helped organize the event, said his inspiration was a similar event last year, though the 2022 version varies widely in scope.

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“This year we wanted to expand it,” Loev told the Chronicle. “The plan was to make it a much bigger conference – I wanted to bridge the gap between Carnegie Mellon and Israel.”

Israeli CEOs and business leaders – from Amiti Ventures to Bold Digital Architects to Livv.ai – are to share their experiences within high-tech industries ranging from “cleantech” (environmentally friendly technologies) to “medtech” (medical technologies). And Pittsburgh-area business leaders will talk about the differences Israeli innovation has made to their businesses and industries, Loev said.

In addition to Hillel JUC and JNF, Tartans4Israel partners with business organizations on campus, such as Scottie Ventures, the Tepper Real Estate Club, Blockchain Club, and the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association.

Loev hopes that by participating, CMU students will be able to learn more about different industries, gain tangible business skills, seize the opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, and develop an understanding of how Israel plays a powerful role in these industries.

“We have almost 30 speakers – it’s been a lot of work,” Loev said. “But we’ve been planning this since the fall.”

For the conference’s “make-a-thon”, Tartans4Israel is partnering with TOM Global (Tikkun Olam Makers), a global community movement that creates and spreads affordable solutions to the neglected challenges of people with disabilities, the elderly and people in need.

Through this partnership, students will be challenged to create a prototype and business plan with “real impact”. Students will also have the opportunity to submit their projects to the Abraham Accords Innovation Challenge, where they will have the chance to win $3,000 and showcase their project at an exhibition in Dubai.

Dan Marcus, who leads Hillel JUC in Oakland, said the conference was a refreshing and pro-Israel moment for local academia.

“It’s a great example of CMU’s Hillel being an integral part of the larger CMU community,” Marcus told the Chronicle. “We will provide an opportunity to engage with Israel in a meaningful and relevant way for CMU students, showing the breadth of Israel’s engineering technology, biotechnology, expertise and excellence. This is a great opportunity to educate the Jewish and non-Jewish community about CMU.

For more information, visit hilleljuc.org/high-tech/. PJC

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

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