Mercedes-Benz and BGU launch innovation challenge

Mercedes-Benz is tapping into Israel’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit with a new challenge in collaboration with Ben-Gurion University, called “The Next 100 Million.”

The university’s Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management, in collaboration with the global auto manufacturer, launched the challenge this week.

All Israeli students from every field are invited to develop ideas for the competition over the next month. As part of the challenge students are tasked with defining what constitutes the “100 million.”

The Challenge innovation platform connects the competitors to real-world opportunities, and offers global organizations a way to present their current challenges and gain access to the new and innovative thinking of students from a variety of fields and backgrounds.

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz recently opened an R&D in Israel, the newest addition to Daimler’s worldwide network, which has main centers in Germany, California, India and China that employ some 16,000 people.

Eyal Mayer, head of Innovation at Mercedes-Benz R&D Tel Aviv, pointed out that the Challenge seeks to uncover new and groundbreaking ideas, thus strengthening the bond between the brand and its customers.

Mayer added that the collaboration with BGU is part of the global corporation’s strategy of creating an ecosystem of innovative and creative concepts that could become part of future products and technologies.

“We will consider integrating these ideas into our future technologies and business models,” he said.

Yossi Shavit, director of the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, added: “In a data-driven world, it is hard to imagine that one person or a single research facility has all the solutions to the challenges a global organization faces.

Sometimes, the solution may originate with the customer, other times from management, but more often than not, a fresh perspective is required. That is the Challenge Competition’s guiding principle.”

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