Scouting Israeli innovation – necessity not a luxury

by Amit Lev, Trade and Investment Commissioner to Southern Africa

Innovation has always been a known and vital component for the success of a business. Whether it is innovation in technology, business models or operations, without the basic innovation component it is difficult to set up and operate a successful global business.

The economist Theodore Levitt said “creativity is thinking up new things and innovation is doing new things”.
First prize is for an organisation to innovate from within, however they get caught up in day to day operations and don’t have the appropriate resources and time to innovate in-house.

So where does one go to find innovation?
According to Prof. Terry Winograd, a famous computer science professor at Stanford University and an early advisor for Google, Innovation is like real estate — the three key ingredients are location, location, location.

This is relevant to Stanford but also to Israel, a small country of nine million people but with over 6000 active start-ups, over 350 global research and development centres, 3rd place in the number of companies traded on NASDAQ and many more innovative indicators that depict Israel’s uniqueness in innovation to almost all industries and services.

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa praised Israeli Technology at his address to the Women in Business leaders in 2019; he labelled Israeli technology as a model for his own country to follow as it is “leading by leaps and bounds”.

The Trade Mission is part of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and its purpose is to create exposure and familiarity with Israeli innovative technologies relevant to SA companies and vice-versa.

In turn, the aim is to translate innovation into economic value by helping these companies find suitable technologies by providing them with knowledge, connections, outreach, scouting, research and the facilitation of e-B2B sessions between Israeli and SA companies.

The advantage of working with Trade Missions is that:

One — it saves time and resources as this is done by the Trade Mission’s professional team who have the knowledge and experience to match the SA company with the relevant Israeli company from a technological and maturity stand point (from startups and R&D centers to established companies and government officials).

Two — the services are free (funded by the Ministry in Israel) devoid of hidden commissions or levies.
Three — The local company will get as clear, credible and unbiased an overview as possible of the tech companies in the market and not according to a particular portfolio of companies.

The Israeli Trade Mission has been assisting SA companies to scout technologies and invest in Israeli companies and VCs (because what’s good for the pension money of teachers in Boston and firefighters in New York should be good for Capetonians’ looking for better yield as well).

It has also been facilitating B2B meetings with hundreds of Israeli companies in the last three years in various sectors from agriculture, water, healthcare up to cyber security, fintech, telecom and many more.

In the last three years the Israeli Trade Mission helped to create more than 22 million USD in business deals and investments between Israeli and SA companies.

The Israeli Trade Mission’s team will be glad to be in touch with any company in SA for requests regarding scouting projects or other initiatives.

Email johannesburg@israeltrade.gov.il for more information.

• Published in the print edition of the March/April Pesach 2021 issue. Download the March/April 2021 issue PDF here.

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