The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) has announced a new program it hopes will encourage corporates to support local startups in their respective fields.
“Technological Labs Innovation”, which comes under the Ministry of Economy and Industry’s aegis, will help push innovation on both sides of the tech divide, said Avi Hasson, the ministry’s chief scientist.
“Open innovation is crucial for the development of companies in our advanced economy,” Hasson told the Times of Israel. “This program will help Israeli corporations operating these labs grow and strengthen their position in Israel.
“It will also help multinational corporations gain exposure to the unique atmosphere of innovation in Israel and bolster their presence here,” Hasson added.
The program will foster greater cooperation between corporations, which are increasingly flocking to Israel’s advanced technology market, and one of the world’s most striking and innovative startup scenes.
The IIA signaled its intentions to become a world-beating agency in December, when it hired Apple’s highly-regarded head of local operations, Aharon Aharon, as its leader. Technological Labs Innovation will nurture entrepreneurs and startups as they bring products to market.
Corporations choosing to work with startups will receive financial incentives from the IIA. It will also fund between 33% and 50% of the cost of establishing lab infrastructure across Israel, and provide funding to maintain them.
“The program will help build ecosystems in Israel in various fields around these labs by enabling support for a range of activities entrepreneurs need to develop proof of concept for an innovative idea,” Anya Elden, general manager of the IIA’s startup division, told the Times.
“Silicon Wadi”, as many experts have coined Israel’s tech ecosystem, has become a global center for innovation in recent years. Israel raises around six times more VC funding than Germany, for example–and companies such as Waze and Fiverr have become household names.
2017 looks set to be a pivotal year for the local market, as a wave of startup VC funds spin out of larger, parent firms. The proliferation of high-tech firms working in fields such as drones and 3D printing also promises to become an exciting fixture of Israeli tech.