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Can Israel stay ahead in the global tech leadership race?

“Wait, wait… … “Not a bad output. In 24 hours Netanyahu managed to take off from one airport (Chad), land in another one (Ben Gurion), inaugurate a third (Ramon) and renovate a fourth (Damascus).” 😀
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Syria, Russia mull plan to triple size of Damascus airport … erm… we think not!
The government of Syria is reported to be considering building a new international terminal at Damascus Airport, increasing its capacity from 5 million to 15 million and making it a regional hub. … Moscow informed the Israeli government that it intends to renovate Damascus Airport, 😀

Anyhoo…

Can Israel stay ahead in the global tech leadership race?

Israel Innovation Authority’s 2018-2019 report reveals the country’s most significant tech challenges and triumphs.

You’ve heard of the “Start-Up Nation.” Are you ready for the “Smart-Up Nation?”

That’s one of the calls to action found in the Israel Innovation Authority’s 2018-2019 report, focusing on the country’s most significant tech challenges.

The IIA says the government must encourage new collaborations between tech companies and public-sector organizations. Last year, it launched a program to fund and provide regulatory support to companies that agree to test their tech in Israel.

The report highlights three other critical success factors for Israel going forward:

  1. Approximately 75 percent of all high-tech jobs in Israel are located in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The IIA proposes increasing grants and perks to companies operating outside that area– especially in Haifa, Jerusalem and Beersheva, which have universities, research hospitals and plenty of entrepreneurs — and encouraging local entrepreneurship through government-funded high-tech incubators in those areas.
  2. It’s hard to build a world-renowned pharmaceutical company in a country with just 9 million people. Teva did it, but that one-time success hasn’t been replicated. Most of the 200-some companies in the Israeli biopharma industry are small and “most have yet to achieve considerable sales.” The report suggests financial and tax incentives for foreign corporations to set up shop in Israel to help it reach its potential to become a leader, particularly in personalized medicine.
  3. Israel needs a broad commitment to the AI space lest it be left behind. The IIA suggests that government, academia and industry jointly formulate a national vision and strategy for AI, which would strengthen academic research in AI, boost human capital and develop the appropriate R&D infrastructures that will serve both academia and industry.

The report also showcased some of the IIA’s achievements over the past year:

  • The establishment of a collaboration with the CERN particle accelerator in Europe in order to transfer knowledge to companies in Israel.
  • The expansion of an incentive program for mature companies with an increase in budget from ₪60 million in 2017 to ₪85 million in 2018.
  • The launch of “Coding Bootcamps” to train more Israelis to fill the estimated 15,000-person shortage for computer programming and engineering jobs in the country.
  • Help in creating a new category of visas for foreign experts in the high-tech sector – another way of plugging the high-tech employee gap.
  • A 20% increase in the number of grants to ultra-Orthodox and Israeli Arab entrepreneurs and startups.
  • A “speed dating” event that introduces startups in the North to one another. A similar event is planned for 2019 in Israel’s South.
  • The launch of a competitive process for the establishment of a food-tech incubator in Safed.
  • Increased participation by Israeli researchers in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.
  • The IIA supported 943 companies in 2018 and financed approximately 1,500 projects, for a total of ₪7 billion.

The report also noted that investment in the Israeli high-tech industry continues to increase. In 2018, it was expected to exceed $6 billion compared with $5.2 billion in 2017.

High-tech exports grew by 8% in 2018 and are expected to reach $100 billion.
The full report can be downloaded here.

Israel climbs to 5th in Bloomberg innovation index

Israel leapt ahead of the US, Singapore, and Japan in its rise from 10th place last year.
Bloomberg put Israel in fifth place in its innovation index for 2019, ahead of the US (eighth place), Singapore (sixth place), and Japan (ninth place). The annual index is being published for the seventh time. Israel was rated 10th place last year, with better patent registration being responsible for a large part of the improvement in ranking.
Bloomberg put South Korea in first place on the index for the sixth time, due to new investments in key technologies and a regulatory plan for encouraging startups. Germany advanced into second place due to investment in production and research by many of its industrial giants, such as Volkswagen, Daimler, and Bosch. Third and fourth places were taken by Finland and Switzerland, respectively.

China, the world’s second largest economy, was rated only in 16th place. Although Bloomberg rated China in second place in patents because of companies like Huawei and BOE, which invest in research and development, China trails far behind in general productivity.
The index is compiled through an examination of areas such as R&D spending, production capability, and public high-tech companies. Bloomberg examined 200 coountries, each of which received a rating between 0 and 100 in seven categories of equal weight. Only 95 countries appear in the final list, because countries that did not submit data for at least six categories were removed from the list. Bloomberg published the 60 highest-rated companies.

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