How UK Can Learn From Israel's Tech SuccessOct. 6, 2012
Israel can boast more tech start-ups per capital than any other country in the world. So what can the UK learn from the country?
Israel has listed more companies on the Nasdaq than the UK and numerous tech firms are basing their research and development centres there.
But while it may be desirable to try to replicate Israel's success, collaboration is better, says Haim Shani, chairman of UK-Israel's Technologies Hub, a UK Trade and Investment programme.
Collaboration between the two countries has already been stepped up through the hub's recently launched TeXchange programme, through which Israeli tech start-ups come to the UK and vice versa.
Intel Israel is one of many big tech companies that have set up R&D labs in the country. Others include IBM, Google and most recently Apple, who opened their first lab outside California here.
Mooly Eden, CEO of Intel Israel, said corporates exist in a symbiotic relationship with the community.
“We want to harness the entrepreneurial creativity here and as the largest employer of IT staff we have just donated £30m to local universities to ensure a steady supply of highly skilled workers,” he said.
Success stories have also fuelled entrepreneurial fervour in the country.
One of Israel’s biggest Internet superstars, Yossi Vardi, who sold the instant messaging tool ICQ to AOL for £250m back in 1999, has inspired many budding entrepreneurs.
He said: “Today everyone wants to be an internet entrepreneur just like me.”
Start-ups selling out to large corporates has since become commonplace here. Most recently The Gifts Project, a tool to buy gifts to give to an individual as a disbursed group, was sold to eBay for an estimated £30m.
The government is also heavily involved in furthering its digital achievements.
This is best illustrated by Israel Brain Technologies, inspired by President Shimon Peres' vision for making the country a hub for global brain technology and research.
Dr Rafi Gidron, chairman for the project, said they aim to make the country a centre for brain-meets-machine research.
Eden Shochat, the founder of The Junction, a tech start-up incubator, offers office space and support to start-ups for free.
While there’s a lot UK entrepreneurs can learn from their Israeli counterparts the UK also has a lot to offer Israel.
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