Tel Aviv is ranked higher on the list than cities like Milan and Tokyo. Tel Aviv is ranked higher on the list than cities like Milan and Tokyo. Tel Aviv is ranked higher on the list than cities like Milan and Tokyo. (Photo: The World in HDR / Shutterstock)

Tel Aviv named one of the best cities in the world for female entrepreneurs

'A supportive environment is like wind under our wings,' says one exec.

When architect and entrepreneur Lihi Gerstner was deciding where to open her first hotel, she looked no further than her hometown of Tel Aviv. "It's one of the most pluralistic cities in the world," she told From The Grapevine. "It’s a place where you are judged the least on your socio-economic status, where you come from or on your gender and orientation."

Gerstner is not alone in her praise of the budding business opportunities in the Mediterranean metropolis. Tel Aviv was named one of the best cities worldwide for female entrepreneurs in a new report that was unveiled this week at the Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit in Singapore. The index – which comes out every two years – ranked 50 cities on five critical characteristics: access to capital, technology, talent, culture and markets. Other cities which made the list include Amsterdam, Toronto and Pittsburgh. Mexico City had the greatest improvement – ranking No. 45 in 2017, and moving up to No. 29 this year. The bay area of San Francisco and Silicon Valley topped the overall list.

Inna Braverman – who was named to Wired Magazine's list of “Females Changing the World" – decided to base her startup Eco Wave Power in Tel Aviv when it launched back in 2011. "Being an entrepreneur is difficult. Being a female entrepreneur adds an additional layer of difficulty to the equation," she told us. "However, a supportive environment is like wind under our wings. When we feel supported, we feel that we can achieve anything – regardless of whether we are a man or a woman."

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Sivan Ya'ari, who runs the non-profit Innovation: Africa from an office in Tel Aviv, also finds the city by the sea to be a good support system. "Tel Aviv has proven to be a hub for creativity and innovation which helps us continually improve and reinforce our commitment to being efficient and reliable in bringing solar, water and agricultural technologies to African villages," she explained. "I couldn’t think of another city where our engineers could be able to brainstorm with other motivated change-makers in the fields of social impact and international development to directly transform the lives of the people we reach."

Earlier this year, women from 39 countries descended on Tel Aviv for the inaugural Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit, an international gathering of top young talent. Meanwhile, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg – whose 2013 book "Lean In" served as a manifesto of sorts for women in the workplace – is planning to visit Israel in August to help launch Facebook's new offices in Tel Aviv. Called "Playground," the multi-use co-working space will offer courses and house startups, developers and businesses working on new consumer technologies.

As for Braverman, she doesn't think her success could have happened anywhere else. "I truly believe that Israel plays a significant role in my personal journey, confidence and achievements," she said.

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Tel Aviv named one of the best cities in the world for female entrepreneurs
'A supportive environment is like wind under our wings,' says one exec.