Singapore University of Social Sciences

Entrepreneurial Spirit in Israel

Entrepreneurial Spirit in Israel (OEL307)


The objective of OEL307 is to provide students with the conceptual tools and learning experiences to develop a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurial spirit exemplified by Israelis, taking into account the political, historical, and cultural landscape. This is achieved through a combination of experiential learning, e-learning, classroom activities, and participation in an overseas trip to Israel.Israel is a small nation surrounded by larger countries that greatly distinguish themselves culturally, politically, and economically. By visiting Israeli historic and cultural sites, meeting organisations, and speaking to the locals, our students will be able to witness how followers of three world religions live together in one small nation, how entrepreneurs are constantly innovating and able to scale beyond their borders, and how Israelis celebrate life despite threats from the immediate region. All these experiences are framed by the object of an entrepreneurial spirit displayed by the Israelis in the face of the theme of “balagan”, a Hebrew term that refers to a state of chaos, disarray, and confusion. The focus on relevant skills and conducive conditions for successful start-ups in this course is used as a more tangible example of the entrepreneurial spirit: how Israelis have harnessed limited resources to deal with the instability, chaos, and uncertainty in the nation’s history, and the current economic and political climate. Through a direct encounter with the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit in all spheres of life, and reflecting on its relation to the theme balagan, students would have the opportunity to deconstruct preconceived notions about Israel, its people, and themselves compare between the circumstances facing Singapore and Israel, and consequently further develop themselves as adept inhabitants in a world characterised by VUCA.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January


  • Experiential Learning
  • Singapore as a “start-up” nation
  • “Balagan” and Israel as a “start-up” nation
  • The Israel-Singapore relationship, geographical, geopolitical, historical and sociocultural aspects of Israel in comparison to Singapore
  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Israel’s religious heritage and its impact on Israeli culture
  • Presumptions about minority/non-Jewish people groups in Israel, and the influence of these presumptions on addressing issues

Learning Outcome

  • Identify economic conditions and business possibilities within the host country
  • Examine the key drivers behind the economic development policies in Israel
  • Explain the role of businesses and corporate enterprises in Israel’s entrepreneurial drive
  • Apply theories to make sense of the relationships between the entrepreneurial spirit and balagan
  • Deconstruct how personal worldviews and presumptions about Israel shape their observations of and responses to the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit
  • Examine how residents of Israel take their native contexts into consideration while dealing with balagan
  • Construct new ways to address the relationships between the entrepreneurial spirit and balagan
  • Examine how the reformed perceptions shape new approaches to dealing with a world characterised by VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity)
  • Verify new approaches with stakeholders
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