Erez Gavish: Municipality is a key player in building and nurturing startup communities


According to Israeli Erez Gavish, an entrepreneur on demand, finding a niche is the best way to begin a startup and municipalities should support the local startup communities to grow.

With a quite colorful background in the food industry, industrial design studies, B.A with Psychology, Fintech, gadgets, cross cultural acceleration programs, operations and many more, Erez Gavish calls himself an "entrepreneur on demand" and keeps getting things done for himself and for clients.

As Mr. Gavish reveals to during the #StartupLarnaka conference, it took almost 10 years of many failed ventures and few successful ones, to understand himself and what he is best at. And that is his endless passion and proven abilities to turn thoughts into actual projects with minimum budget. “I have mastered lean execution and learned how to use the web and the free knowledge and tools out there, in order to create value and build projects and ventures”, continued.

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- Israel is often called the start-up nation. What lessons can Cyprus learn from the Tel Aviv startup scene?
Firstly, I think it would be wise to start with your strong points and don't pretend to be something you're not. For example, if you're great with hospitality and tourism, build on this! Second, as both counties are without trading borders, you must build products for other markets from the day 1. This means English first, make connections and build business relations with other countries, but mainly - understand that this is a game you must win: if you don't get innovation in and don't grab opportunities, you will be left behind.

- Is it important for a country or a city to find a niche and develop a startup ecosystem around it? Do you think startup ecosystems are built on a country or city level?
I strongly believe in niches, as they are the best places to start from. It goes double for small countries. Startup and entrepreneurial communities are key for any ecosystem. These are the bolts and nuts of the innovation machine. You must learn to grab these likeminded people, give them the tools and the place to grow and they will eventually affect the whole economy.

I strongly believe that the municipality is a key player, as an entity which holds the key for many resources of all kinds (time, knowledge, partnerships, money, space, etc.). Needless to say, the country level is important as well - taxing issues, visas, support, etc., but nevertheless, a huge responsibility lays on the municipal level.

- Why do you think so many startups fail?
Because it's hard. Very hard. There is huge competition. Tons of products out there. And you must be great at so many things at once (capital, product, managing, service, skills, marketing, sales, operations, etc.)

Taking an idea that is usually somehow crazy and make into a business which people actually are paying for its services is a long, challenging, and most often frustrating process. And the key to make it work is the entrepreneur himself, which has to have the willingness, skills, and true faith in his\her mission.

- What is the most important element for startups to consider increasing their chances for success?

One? Wow. That's not fair... But if I must pick one only, I would go for keep improving the entrepreneur' personal and business skills. It's all about that, especially on the first stages.

Erez Gavish’s short biography
Erez Gavish is 37 years old, married with a nine years old child. After almost 10 years in the restaurant business in Tel Aviv, doing all possible jobs in the field (he was even relocated to Manhattan for 6 months, to open and manage a place), he decided "no more". Erez needed to create his own business.