CTech Forecast Conference Chen Shmilo וידאו

8200 Alumni Association: Joint effort needed to support early-stage startups

CEO of the 8200 Alumni Association Chen Shmilo spoke to CTech at Calcalist’s 2024 Forecasts event about how his organization is aiding early-stage startups and small businesses amidst the war in Gaza.

“I want to acknowledge the very positive response of the Israel Innovation Authority by deploying immediate grants for startups and other open calls that they do to address the market failure” says Chen Shmilo, CEO of the 8200 Alumni Association at Calcalist’s 2024 Forecasts event in Tel Aviv. However, he added that there needs to be a “joint effort” by the government, private companies and VCs to maintain and increase a diverse tech ecosystem.
“We need to encourage people from underrepresented communities to join the tech ecosystem. We care a lot about employment and career promotion among these communities. We cannot let go of the enormous work that we did before the war in diversifying the very landscape of entrepreneurs in Israel so there's a lot of work to do in that regard.”
In addition to many members of his organization serving in reserve units since 7/10, Shmilo says that the organization has “shifted our social programs to support the current needs of Israeli society, either by forming a special batch of our small businesses program, or supporting alumni companies of the accelerator program. We see how we can connect them to mentors, to investment opportunities. We organize the list of all immediate responses and assistance to Israeli startups in collaboration with the Israel Innovation Association.”
Shmilo explained the goals of the association. “The 8200 Alumni Association is the formal graduate organization of Unit 8200, which is an elite technological unit in the Israeli Defense Forces. We have 24,000 members as part of the association, but most of our work is not for the graduates, but graduates for Israeli society.”
You can watch the full interview in the video above.