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Israel Produces The Second Most Self Made Billionaires In The World

According to London’s Center for Policy Studies, Israel ranks second in the world in producing self made billionaires according to population.


Much has been said in praise of the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit. Titans of high tech, such as Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt, have touted Israel’s ability to innovate in the field of technology. Chekpoint, Waze and ICQ are just a few of the companies and products to come out of the Israeli high tech start up world to make a fortune.

A new report recently released by the Center for Policy Studies in London has confirmed what many already knew about the success of Israeli entrepreneurs: Israel ranks second in the world as a percentage of population at producing self made billionaires, after Hong Kong.

Founded in 1974 by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher (before she was prime minister of England), the Center for Policy Studies (CPS) is a free market “neoliberal British policy” think tank established to promote the principles of a free society and works in disseminating free market economics. The Center also has a role in developing privatization and low tax policies around the world.

The CPS report titled, “SuperEntrepreneurs and how your country can get them, ” reviewed one thousand self made people who have earned at least $1 billion through their own work. The list was compiled, in part, by reviewing Forbes Magazine’s lists of the world’s wealthiest people in the period from 1996-2010.

Israel ranked second out of the 34 members nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with 1.788 self made billionaires per million inhabitants. Factors such as education, government encouragement and a multitude of potential entrepreneurs competing for funding for their projects were all cited as reasons why Israel ranked so high on the list. There is also the training that Israelis who serve in certain elite IDF units receive

There are sixteen billionaires out of a total population of roughly 8 million in Israel, six of whom are self made. These include the founders of Checkpoint, Gil Shwed and Marius Nacht, the founder of Playtech, Teddy Sagi, as well as Morris Kahn and Stef Wertheimer.

While entrepreneurs in Israel mostly develop new products and work in new fields, some make their fortunes in already existing industries. Also, the report cited a high level of education as a key factor in success and many Israeli high tech entrepreneurs have studied computer sciences, engineering and other sciences in Israeli universities. But not all self made billionaires fit into this mold. For example, Israeli Haim Saban is an American resident and self made billionaire worth an estimated $3.4 billion who never went to college and made his money in entertainment.

Innovation in any field, something which most successful Israeli entrepreneurs do, was cited by the CPS report as a key factor in becoming a SuperEntrepeneur.

Even though the report found a correlation between low taxes and few regulations in a nation that fosters more entrepreneurial success, this is something which characterizes the lists leader Hong Kong and not Israel. While Binyamin Netanyahu has attempted to enact changes in this respect, Israel still ranks high in tax rates and regulation of industries among the nations of, the world coming in 35th on a world list published by the World Bank.

If current tends continue, however, Israel might eventually find itself at the top of the CPS list.

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