Natan Sharansky, The Genesis Prize Foundation, and Start-Up Nation Central to award funds to entities offering tech solutions for COVID-19
The search is on for the most promising Israeli high-tech solutions to COVID-19, aiming to highlight the global potential of Israeli innovation. The winners, to be announced in a festive event in November 2020, will regift the award to charities of their choice
Genesis Prize Laureate Natan Sharansky, The Genesis Prize Foundation and Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) have released a call to Israeli tech companies, hubs, and R&D centers to present the most promising tech solutions for the global COVID-19 reality. Winners of the competition will be announced at a festive event to be held in November 2020.
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Winners will be invited to donate their prizes to NGOs or nonprofits of their choice working to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19, including those helping vulnerable populations.
The annual Genesis Prize, dubbed by TIME Magazine as the “Jewish Nobel Prize,” honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values. Legendary Jewish leader and activist Natan Sharansky was named the eighth Genesis Prize Laureate in recognition of his life-long advocacy for human rights, democracy, service to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Mr. Sharansky is the first Israeli recipient of the international honor.
Continuing the tradition of Genesis Prize laureates, Sharansky chose to donate his $1 million prize award to the most burning issue of the year – fighting the coronavirus pandemic. As part of his Genesis Prize theme, Sharansky believes that shining the spotlight on the role of Israeli technology can make an impact in addressing this global challenge.
Mr. Sharansky and the Genesis Prize Foundation have joined forces with Start-Up Nation Central, an independent nonprofit organization with a mission of strengthening the Israeli high-tech industry, “the engine of the Israeli economy,” exposing its capabilities and encouraging business cooperation with the technological ecosystem in Israel. To realize its vision, SNC operates with business organizations, venture capital companies, investors, authorities, and various government ministries around the world.
According to SNC's CoronaTech Israel website, more than 300 Israeli tech companies have developed solutions to fight COVID-19 or help people impacted by it. These start-ups work in a range of fields and can help governments, industries, medical centers, and healthcare providers across the globe.
The call for proposals invites companies working in the following fields: remote monitoring, tracking, and tracing; diagnostics, early detection, and decision-making support; protection and prevention; social and mental aid; treatment; assistive technologies for the homebound; and non-medical solutions for healthcare providers.
Award criteria include: the technological potential of the solution, its relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic, scalability, and business potential. The winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges representing the medical sector, industry, and the investment community. With the guidance of Matan-United Way Israel, the winners will donate their prize to charities of their choice.
2020 Genesis Prize Laureate Natan Sharansky said: “The creative and innovative spirit demonstrated by the Israeli high-tech industry during the COVID-19 crisis is a source of hope and pride. I call upon more companies to join the effort out of human solidarity and mutual accountability. The needs are substantial and there’s a lot to be done.”
“Israel has ample experience in responding to existential challenges with creative and trailblazing solutions. This experience is proving handy in helping the world fight the spread and implications of COVID-19,” said Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central. “We are excited to collaborate with the Genesis Prize Foundation and shine a light on over 300 Israeli companies that have set out to fight the Coronavirus, paying special attention to those most adversely affected by the pandemic.”
“To help others in a time of crisis is a traditional Jewish value”, said Stan Polovets, Cofounder and Chairman of The Genesis Prize Foundation. “This year, the Genesis Prize highlights those Israelis who rose to the global challenge to combat the pandemic — like the 2020 Genesis Prize Laureate Natan Sharansky, who donated his $1million award to fighting COVID-19 in Israel and abroad. In this spirit, together with our partners at Start-Up Nation Central, we look forward to shining the spotlight on Israeli high-tech companies that are making a globally significant advances against this disease. The winners will direct their cash awards to Israeli charities of their choice, creating a virtuous circle of tzedakah".
Start-Up Nation Central is an independent nonprofit organization with a mission of strengthening the Israeli high-tech industry, “the engine of the Israeli economy,” exposing its capabilities and encouraging business cooperation with the technological ecosystem in Israel. To realize its vision, the company operates with business organizations, venture capital companies, investors, authorities, and various government ministries around the world. The company’s activities are funded solely by philanthropy.
Through its annual Genesis Prize, The Genesis Prize Foundation honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values. Legendary Jewish leader and activist Natan Sharansky was announced in December 2019 as the 8th Genesis Prize Honoree in recognition of his life-long advocacy for human rights, democracy, service to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
Previous Genesis Prize laureates are former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; actor, producer and peace activist Michael Douglas; virtuoso violinist and advocate for individuals with special needs Itzhak Perlman; sculptor and advocate for the rights of refugees Sir Anish Kapoor; Oscar-winning actress and social activist Natalie Portman; and owner of New England Patriots and founder of the leading foundation to combat anti-Semitism Robert Kraft. In 2018, the Genesis Prize Foundation honored U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to social justice and equal rights.
All laureates have selected causes that are important to them, and award funds in their honor have been donated to these causes. These initiatives have included support of social entrepreneurship based on Jewish values, inclusiveness of intermarried families in Jewish life, improving the lives of individuals with special needs, helping to alleviate the global refugee crisis, advancing women’s equality, and combatting anti-Semitism and efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel.