Our mission is to create an entrepreneurial community of leaders committed to shaping a peaceful Israeli-Palestinian future built on trust.
OGS was founded at Brandeis University in 2014 by Ohad Elhelo, a then Brandeis undergraduate, and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts (2007-2015) as Chairman of the Advisory Board. We were the first startup incubator to use entrepreneurship as a neutral vehicle to unite emerging leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Territories (the West Bank and Gaza). In 2016, we flew our first cohort to Boston.
Since that first year, we’ve completed seven cohorts, graduated over 180+ alumni, and incubated dozens of startups that have generated jobs and improved the lives of thousands in the region. Today, OGS is led by Lobna Agbaria as CEO and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts (2007-2015), as Chairman.
Our work would not be possible without our hosting institution, Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, ranked as a top ten social policy school by US News & World Report. Additionally, OGS is honored to partner from the very start with MassChallenge, the world’s largest start accelerator, and since expand its partnerships with MIT’s designX and Game Lab accelerators and MISTI’s programs. Our vast network of world-class institutions, Advisory Board members, philanthropists, leaders, mentors, coaches, and friends around the world is what powers Our Generation Speaks.
Each year, we handpick a group of exceptional individuals and teams who leave their home countries, families, friends, and work environments to be immersed in one of the most innovative cities in the world. With the support of cutting-edge mentorship and seminar programs, our fellows build and accelerate their startups, creating jobs and changing lives in the region. And long after graduation, fellows stay involved with our robust alumni community, OGS Next, through a series of workshops and gatherings—building a powerful network of change agents that stretches across borders.
Since our inception, we’ve nurtured dozens of successful startups, which in turn have raised over $45 million in external funding. And we’re still growing. We’re excited to be ramping up our efforts, expanding the number of fellows from 30 to 50 in 2024 onwards, by launching a new Accelerator Program that will run in parallel to the current Incubator Program.
Our approach is built on 3 sturdy pillars: the fellowship, the startups, and the alumni. It’s simple. We power up exciting, mission-driven startups that unite emerging leaders and have a lasting impact on the region.
Each year, OGS selects promising leaders in their 20s and 30s from over 1,000 applicants to attend one of two Summer Fellowships at Brandeis University:
The OGS Incubator, a three-month fellowship in partnership with MassChallenge, is industry-agnostic and designed for early-stage entrepreneurs who have yet to launch a startup.
The OGS Accelerator, a two-month fellowship in partnership with MIT-designX and MIT Game Lab, is focused on accelerating early-stage startup teams in the areas of the future of cities, the human environment, and gamification.
Both programs are equally divided between Israelis and Palestinians and are gender balanced. All Fellows are assigned world-class mentors and coaches to guide their journey, share common living, and participate in lectures and workshops together, building lasting relationships in the process. At the end of the Fellowship period, OGS provides up to $50,000 in pre-seed investments to a select number of startups.
As they progress through our startup development tracks, entrepreneurs build startups from the ground up — supporting our mission and creating economic opportunity in the region. To date, we’ve supported dozens of successful startups that have collectively raised over $45 million in investments post-OGS.
Thanks to OGS Next, our alumni network, OGSers stay connected to a vibrant 180+ member alumni community long after the fellowships are over. Through various professional, political, and social programs, alumni continue to create and maintain strong relationships in the region, simultaneously building a powerful network.
Here are the basics we all agree upon.
Our vast community encompasses fellows, alumni, mentors, supporters, and friends who are each guided by a series of fundamental principles.
Here are the values that we firmly stand by:
Equality reminds us that we’re all worthy of respect and opportunity, whatever our backgrounds or beliefs.
Empathy and compassion remind us to love our neighbors as ourselves, continually working to understand and embrace other perspectives.
Integrity pushes us to do the right thing—always—and never lose sight of what matters.
Here are the qualities we follow to bring change:
Courage inspires us to take risks and pursue our dreams boldly, because courage is the pathway to change.
A spirit of leadership means we advocate for others, take responsibility for our decisions, and lend a helping hand to those who follow.
A “can-do” mindset encourages us to see failure as part of success. We pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off when things don’t go as planned.
Passion drives us to aim for nothing short of exceptional. We never settle; we give it everything we’ve got.
And a love of fun inspires us to explore, enjoy each other’s company, and remember to take our work more seriously than we do ourselves.