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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Israel as gateway to developing world

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Business leaders gathered at Go4Europe conference in Tel Aviv say Jewish state poised to link its innovative spirit with Europe’s established business practices to spur growth in technological breakthroughs

While Israel still has some regulatory kinks to work out, the small Middle Eastern country is poised to link its innovative spirit with Europe’s established business practices to spur growth in technological breakthroughs, according to business leaders at the recent Go4Europe conference in Tel Aviv.
“We are looking for the best talent in the world, and Israel is known for having some of the best talent,” Meir Brand, the managing director of Google Israel, Greece and sub-Saharan Africa, told The Media Line. “We also look for the entrepreneurial spirit and the risk taking that Israelis are comfortable with.”
Brand was among a large group of leading financiers and high-tech CEOs who discussed their vision for creating more cooperative connections between Israel and Europe. The presenters spoke of Israeli know-how and Israelis’ inclination to challenge the status quo.
“One thing in Israel is the cultural element, the disrespect of authority, together with extremely strong technical skills,” Dor Skuler, the vice president of Franco-American telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent told The Media Line.
“There is also a very healthy and strong team spirit (among Israelis). They’re very helpful to each other, and they have a mindset that focuses on the success of the team. They also have a real hunger to disrupt the market.”
While Israel holds promise with those looking to create new digital products, companies who want to engage in larger infrastructure projects still face issues of regulation and government interference.
“There’s a lot of non-coordination between ministries when it comes to national infrastructure, which can cost an entrepreneur a lot of money because of delays if they don’t know how to work the system,” Yosef Abramowitz, a solar power pioneer and CEO of Energiya Global, told The Media Line.
“Our advice for international investors who do want to benefit from long term, green investments in the state of Israel is to find a trusted local partner who can navigate the politics and bureaucracies in Israel.”
According to a recent Bank of Israel study, the average construction time for a project in Israel is 14 years. This lengthy process is one that has stymied business opportunities.
“We’ve seen solar energy companies that have left Israel,” Abramowitz said. “And we’ve seen solar energy companies that have closed shop. So that should be a warning sign to the Ministry of Finance that the state has been squandering the opportunity to have billions of dollars invested in its energy infrastructure. Security has to be given to investors about the future of the industry.”