By Cory Bolotsky

With the 2013 MassChallenge Awards Ceremony coming up on October 30, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on one of MassChallenge’s major initiatives in 2013: MassChallenge Israel.

In 2009, John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam founded MassChallenge with a vision to catalyze a global startup renaissance – a rebirth of inspired, creative innovators who strive to create new value for the world. In our first year, MassChallenge saw applications from over 35 countries, but the idea of a global renaissance extended beyond application interest. Geographic expansion has long been a part of the MassChallenge vision and Israel was identified as the first node for that international expansion outside of Boston.

In late 2012, we launched MassChallenge Israel in Tel Aviv. With the tremendous support of EMC CorporationThe Kraft Group and the New England Israel Business Council, we set out to enable top-tier Israeli startups to access global markets by connecting them with the very best people and organizations in the Boston entrepreneurial ecosystem.

I was fortunate to join the MassChallenge team three years ago when I only was 19 years old and a freshman at Northeastern University. My first co-op was with MassChallenge in Boston as their Startup Concierge. I caught the startup bug in that role and it triggered a passion for supporting entrepreneurs and contributing to the global startup community.