Helping Israeli Arabs Join The High-Tech RevolutionApr. 28, 2015
The Start-Up Nation is starting to include more of its citizens.
Israel, which has earned the title of Start-Up Nation for its disproportionate international role in high-technology advancements, most launched by Jewish Israelis and Army veterans, is slowly bringing Israeli Arabs into the high-tech fold.
In recent years, such initiatives as Nazareth-based New Generation Technology, and similar programs named Al Bawader and Tsofen, also from Nazareth, all of which support Arab-founded high-tech companies, have reached out to Israel’s Arab population, which has been underrepresented in the country’s high-tech revolution.
A new start-up incubator, which is supporting fledgling Israeli Arab companies in order to help both the minority population and the wider economy, recently brought its message of inter-ethnic cooperation here.
Itzik Frid, an Israeli Jew who had served as vice president of the world’s leading provider of content adaptation and browsing solutions for online carriers, and Imad Telhami, an Israeli Arab who had served as a senior executive with the Delta Galil Industries textiles firm and founded a successful call center and software development company, attended the Israel DealMakers Summit last month in Manhattan; the two held separate meetings with other potential investors to promote Takwin Labs (Takwin is Arabic for “genesis” or “start”), which will offer seed money to Israeli Arab entrepreneurs.
“We will also invest in promising candidates in the West Bank,” Frid said.
Takwin, whose initial goal is $20 million, found a high level of interest here but no investments yet; Frid said he is optimistic that financial support from U.S. investors will come. He had lined up some $5 million in investment funding from Jews and Arabs in Israel before coming to the United States. Such entrepreneurial investments typically take several months to arrange, he said. “It is still in process.”
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