Israeli Technology Draws U.S. StatesAug. 13, 2013
Israel has become a popular destination for U.S. governors hoping to spur their states’ economies by tapping into the technology of a country some call “Start-Up Nation.”
States with robust technology sectors such as California, New York and Massachusetts have been particularly active in seeking out business ties with Israel, but so have less likely states such as Delaware and New Mexico.
“Israel is an amazing source of innovation that drives a significant percentage of the American economy in our most important sectors,” said David Goodtree, a consultant who helped organize Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's trade mission to Israel two years ago.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has called Israel "the leading, largest and most promising investment hub outside the United States,” while Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said that the “innovation going on in Israel is critical to the future of the technology business.”
Though Israel is a nation of less than 8 million people, it has 65 companies listed on NASDAQ, more than any other country except the United States and Canada. It has attracted a steady flow of U.S. governors in recent years. At least four governors have made the trip this year, and at least 11 have visited in the last three years. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is planning a trip in October.
In many cases, these efforts have borne fruit:
* Massachusetts recently announced a second round of state grants to fund joint projects between Massachusetts companies and Israeli firms, part of a partnership formed in 2011 to support innovation involving life sciences, clean energy and water technology.
* As part of a $300 million deal with the Israeli government, New York’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany is opening its doors to Israeli companies and universities.
* Maryland announced in April that four Israel high-tech companies are opening offices in the state. It also announced a new partnership between Maryland and Israel to support projects involving cybersecurity and life sciences.
* Florida included $1 million in its budget this year, to be matched by Israel, for joint Israel-Floridaaerospace research projects.
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