London hosts conference touting Israeli innovation (JERUSALEM POST) By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT 06/28/12)
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Any assumption that the UK is a fertile ground for the boycott
campaign against Israel was laid to rest on Tuesday as London hosted
one of Europe’s largest hi-tech conferences aimed at enhancing the
strong connection between the UK and Israel in innovation.
Held in central London, Innovate Israel 2012 was attended by over 500
business leaders, investors, decision makers and government
Attending the event, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub
said: “The most powerful response to the boycott, divestment and
sanctions campaign – which seeks to drive a wedge between Britain and
Israel – is to deepen that relationship. Innovate Israel, which is
advancing the tremendous potential for hi-tech partnerships between
British and Israeli companies, does exactly that.
“It is an opportunity to explore that potential and discover new ways
to work together to promote innovation, growth and jobs in both
countries,” he said.
The event was organized by UK Israel Business, a London-based
organization helping emerging business and investment opportunities
in the two countries, Israel’s Embassy in London and the Israel
Export and Cooperation Institute.
In attendance was Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor
Shalom Simhon and British Minister for Culture, Communications and
the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey, who earlier in the year led a
delegation of top executives from the UK’s media and creative
industries to Israel.
Simhon told The Jerusalem Post that technology and innovation has no
boundaries and that Israel has many ideas on how to expand economic
activity between Israel and the Palestinians.
“We need to invest the good energies not the bad energies to develop
cooperation between Israel, Britain and the Palestinians. We speak to
many international companies and encourage them to take part in
collaboration between Israel and the Palestinians. We will be happy
to see British companies joining these joint ventures.”
Speaking about the conference, Simhon said it “puts on the map our
desire to collaborate and work closer with Britain.” He added that
new media is only one area “but you can imagine the other areas in
which Israel has much to offer so we can work closely with Britain.”
Vaizey paid tribute to the relationship between Britain and Israel
and said there is much for both countries to do together in the area
of investment, research and development.
“There is a natural bond between the two countries and the British
government is a great supporter of Israel,” the minister said.
With over 34 growth stage Israeli companies and start-ups, the one-
day conference allowed participants to engage, network and uncover
opportunities coming out of Israel.
“Never before has there been so much excitement, enthusiasm and
desire to bridge the gap between Israel and the UK and develop
deeper, stronger, profitable and long-lasting relationships,” said
Marc Worth and Yossi Vardi, co-chairmen of Innovate Israel.
According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, bilateral
trade between the UK and Israel increased by almost 38%, from $3.7
billion in 2010 to $5.1 billion in 2011.
The UK currently stands as Israel’s fourth greatest trading partner
behind the US, China and Germany. In the first third of 2012,
bilateral trade between the two countries was 42% higher than for the
same period in 2011.
In February 2011 the British government called to “encourage a
stronger partnership between British and Israeli companies in
innovation, high technology and science.” Worth and Vardi
added: “This is the core of what the future partnership between the
UK and Israel should be, matching the innovation and technological
brilliance of Israel, the “start-up nation”, with Britain’s skill and
experience in building large successful companies.”
The event allowed Israeli start-up companies – interested in joint
ventures, development and access to capital – to showcase their
products. Throughout the day, the event organizers scheduled one-to-
one meetings between entrepreneurs and interested parties. Over 170
meetings took place with the target of nurturing cooperation,
furthering collaboration and establishing bilateral ties.
The Israeli organizations had a first-hand opportunity to network
with major British and European firms keen to uncover opportunities
in the latest technological advancements coming out of Israel.
“The standard of Israel technology on display, the list of world
class speakers and the senior UK decision makers present is
unprecedented, making this Europe’s premier Israel-focused web,
mobile and digital media conference,” said Noah Shani, Trade and
Economics attaché at the embassy.
“Innovate Israel is not just about the Israeli sparkle. Equally
important are the entrepreneurs and business leaders from the UK who
are here to meet with their Israeli counterparts and engage in real
dialogue with the intention of pursuing collaboration and
partnership,” he added. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/28/12)
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