(Hong Kong, 24 November 2014) In 1923, after the First World War, Albert Einstein visited the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. He founded the Technion Society and whilst there, planted the iconic Washingtonion Robusta. Still standing, the palm tree is symbolic of the Society’s mission to support and promote education, science and entrepreneurship, and to sow the seeds of innovation for generations to come. Upon planting this tree, Einstein said, “Israel can win the battle for survival only by developing expert knowledge in technology.” Honoring innovation as a driving force of growth, the Li Ka Shing Foundation invited Professor Dan Shechtman—Nobel Prize Laureate and full-time Professor at the Technion—to kick start the Techcracker Lab programme on 21 Nov 2014. In a lecture given to 100 participants traveling to Israel in January, Professor Shechtman reveals the secrets to successful innovation and entrepreneurship.
Dan Shechtman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the revolutionary discovery of quasicrystals. His achievement not only challenged the way scientists fundamentally conceived the nature of matter, but also celebrated the awards of tenacity. Indeed, many scientists at the time ridiculed Professor Shechtman for this seemingly improbable observation. Even he could not believe his eyes when he saw a five-fold rotational symmetry in the atoms under his electronic microscope: “Eyn chaya kazo!” (“There can be no such creature!” in Hebrew). He still recalls when the head of his laboratory brought a textbook to his office and said, “Danny, please read this book and you will understand that what you are saying cannot be.” But his discovery proves that to innovate is to tread into the unknown, sometimes even unfathomable realm; and to break through, one must have the ‘guts’ to persevere even in the face of relentless criticism.
Apart from his dedication to the field of science, for the past 27 years, Professor Shechtman has been teaching a course on technological entrepreneurship at the Technion. While humanity has periods of ups and downs, and faces a widening gap in the distribution of wealth, Professor Shechtman believes that the development of start-up companies, high-tech companies and small companies will lead the world to a better future. In the lecture, titled “Technological Entrepreneurship – Key to World Peace and Prosperity”, he emphasized innovation as a key driver of growth, prosperity, and peace as the world inevitably consumes even more resources than it can produce.
From January 8-13, 2015, the Foundation will sponsor a group of near 100 university and high-school students and members of the press to visit Israel. The programme is designed for interaction with students and faculties of Technion, and with entrepreneurs, leaders and influencers of the local start-up community. The Foundation is very pleased that Techcracker Lab is supported by the Consulate General of Israel Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HK PolyU), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST),the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Hong Kong New Generation Cultural Association. In addition to learning about conceptualizing, funding and development of a start- up, participants will learn to tackle challenges with new perspectives.
The four supporting Universities have elected each participating student through a rigorous selection process. Equipped with an array of unique talents and skills, the participants will be separated into teams and will undergo a series of lessons from startup founders, venture capitalists and workshops at the Technion. As the trip concludes, each team will have the chance to present their plan to a panel of venture firms and founders in Israel. The winning team will be awarded a grant of USD 10,000 from the Li Ka Shing Foundation to donate to an Israeli NGO of their choice.
About the Li Ka Shing Foundation
Established in 1980 by Mr Li Ka-shing, the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) has three strategic focuses: nurture a new culture of giving; support education reform initiatives; and advance medical research and services. Mr Li considers the Foundation to be his “third son” and has pledged one-third of his assets to it. With initiatives spread over 19 countries and regions, LKSF supports projects that promote social progress through expanding access to quality education and medical services and research, encouraging cultural diversity and community involvement. Since its inception, LKSF has granted over HK$15 billion, approximately 90% of which benefit projects in the Greater China region. For more information, please visit: http://www.lksf.org.