Between Herzliya and Halifax: 3 weeks of trips, experiences (and studies) in Canada and Israel


Six students from the School of Entrepreneurship participated in the SRF Foundation delegation to Canada this summer, which included sailing at Niagara Falls, company visits, trips, sunsets over the Atlantic, global marketing studies, and many new friends.


Roee Friedman & Roi Safran


Wow! What an amazing journey.
We'd like to introduce you to the delegation of the School of Entrepreneurship to Canada - an incredible program that brings together students with a distinct background in excellence/entrepreneurship with students from Canada for a nearly month long exchange. This delegation aims to promote business and entrepreneurial relationships in both countries, as well as to bring Canadians closer to Israel - the Startup Nation.

With some background on the program, it's time to share our experiences.

We arrived in Halifax (a city that pleasantly surprised us), where "Dalhousie" University is located, and where, along with Tel Aviv University, we collaborated during the program.



As soon as we had acclimatized, we headed north to Cape Breton Island. We viewed green and blue, forests, lakes and bays from the bus window. We continued through the forest on a short track until we reached the edge of a cliff, where we witnessed one of the world's most beautiful sunsets, and had the chance to know better the Canadian students from all over the world (Canada, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Ecuador, France and Italy).

Having completed the weekend trip, toured a brewery (including tastings), and enjoyed quality meals, we headed back to Halifax to begin the "Global Marketing" course with Brazilian-Canadian Prof. Sergio Carvalho, the program's founder and director. Our study, which was mostly conducted in Canada, provided us with a great deal of information on how to market in the international arena and how we may use these tools to lead our future ventures. Throughout the course of the day, lectures were held from morning to afternoon, followed by watching a series of videos that told the story of the Land of Israel and the Jewish people over the course of time. This was in order to make sure that the whole group was connected to the history and existence of the country and the Jewish people, especially for the second part of the program. Each day, after finishing the lectures, we left for free time where we enjoyed walking along the beach promenade, shopping, lakes, restaurants, training in the university's huge sports complex, local parties, and, of course, working on the program's final project.



To get a taste of the world of entrepreneurship and Canadian high-tech, we visited companies as part of the program, which was one of its objectives. One of those companies was "Volta Labs" which provides a supportive environment for entrepreneurs who need help promoting their ideas, such as workspace, legal support, training, and even financial assistance. Besides meeting the company's employees, we talked with two entrepreneurs (one of whom never stopped praising Israel and its exciting talent even though he didn't know we were from Israel) who are helped by the company resources.


In one evening, Jim Spatz, a Canadian-Jewish businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who is passionate about Israel and connected to it, invited us to a meal at the prestigious restaurant "The Bicycle Thief". Having graduated from Dalhousie University, Jim contributed to the program and shared the meal with us, which included three courses and (Israeli) wine flowing non-stop. He shared his life story and opinions with us, and we were eager to hear them.



Our time in Halifax ended with a final exam in the "Global Marketing" course, and after we passed it successfully and enjoyed a free Saturday that we spent in restaurants and on the lake, we continued our journey to Toronto.

After arriving, we traveled straight to the famous Niagara Falls, boarded a ship that took us up to the falls and witnessed the power of nature. After that, we went to a restaurant with a crazy view of the falls and the border with the United States, and then we went on to the Hilton Hotel in Toronto, stopping along the way for a winery tour and wine tasting (a recurring motif in the program) as well as a shopping trip to the outlet (which is bigger than Reichman University).



Toronto could be described in one sentence as - like New York, but quieter, sleepier, and smaller. We were surprised by the city's strengths throughout the days we spent there and were inspired by the construction and the atmosphere. Throughout the days, we made many and varied visits, beginning at the headquarters of the program's organization, where we discussed the complicated situation in Israel freely. Afterwards, we visited the Israeli consulate in Toronto and met with the consulate (after a security check that shocked all the Canadian students), as well as an Israeli venture capital investor who lectured us about the Israeli ecosystem.



During our stay in Toronto, we visited the offices of high-tech companies, including Spin Master and Top Hat, where we met with senior managers, attended an alumni evening, ate dinner at a restaurant at the top of the world, and saw a performance by "The Kid Laroi".

Together with the Canadians, we flew to Israel for the Israeli continuation of the program after the Canadian part of the delegation was over.

Like the Canadian part of the trip, we enjoyed being tourists in Israel and experiencing it from the point of view of those who are visiting for the first time: a tour of Caesarea, the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, the Sea of Galilee, and Tiberias (all on the first day). Rosh Hankara, Beit Shean, the Golan Heights (yes, more wine tastings), a cruise on the Sea of Galilee, resting on the beach, and back to the center.



After touring Old Jaffa, we continued to a hotel in Tel Aviv near Gordon, where the Canadians were amazed by Tel Aviv's beaches and vibrant life. We visited various companies during the week, including "Heseg" which provides aid and scholarships to lone soldiers, Ichud Hatzala, the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

In mid-week, we returned to continue the academic portion of the "Global Marketing" course taught by Dr. Inbal Stockheim, taking another test on the material studied and presenting the final projects we worked on throughout the program (and before). The group project involved bringing a Canadian/Israeli company to another country. Each group designed a marketing strategy according to the company it chose. This was based on analyzing the country of origin, its culture, history, as well as analyzing the relevant market.

Then, we continued to Kfar Hanokudim, hiked Masada at sunrise, and finished our trip in Jerusalem (the Old City, the Western Wall, Mahane Yehuda), a powerful and exciting tour of Yad Vashem, and a traditional Shabbat dinner with Rabbi Josh, who immigrated to Israel from Canada.



The last evening was spent at bars in Jerusalem and at a party that summed all of it up, culminating in tears at the airport from the students.

We traveled, met, tasted, experienced, connected and most importantly, learned about people, cultures, complexities, and attitudes. The group is not breaking up either - we are joining the alumni organization of the program, which includes many dozens of former participants who keep in touch and collaborate even in their subsequent academic and professional careers.

We are grateful to the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation for providing participation scholarships to all members of the delegation, as well as for bringing Israel and Canada closer together.

Also, I would like to thank Dr. Yossi Maaravi and Mrs. Sharon Zahavi for managing the program and for executing it. I would like to give a special thanks to Mr. Ofir Richman for joining us throughout the program and assisting us as needed.

Stay tuned 😉