I am pleased to be a part of the SC Trade Mission to Israel. Headed by Chairman Jonathon Zucker and the American Israeli Chamber of Commerce, 27 South Carolinians made the 24 hour journey to Tel Aviv. (The actual flight time from New York to Tel Aviv was 10 hours, but increased security, getting from Charlotte to JFK and just international travel add to the time.)
As many of you know, Israel is the second most innovative economy on earth. Significant innovations that came from companies in Israel include: the jump drive, the cell phone, voice over internet protocol, cordless phones, call centers, the desktop pentium chip, the laptop centrino, the DVD, plasma TV, LCD TV, cable TV, data compression, satellite TV, Firewalls, instant messaging and much, much more. Some of these innovations were with Israelis working for American companies like Intel, but they came out of Israel. For a discussion of this incredible success, see the book Startup Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.
Israel has only 7.5 million people, but there is a culture here that rivals Silicon Valley. Tel Aviv is an international city that has been called the capital of cool. It's the second largest city in Israel with a population of 610,000 in the City and 3 million in the County. (Ignore my previous post that said Tel Aviv was smaller than Greenville County. I relied on Wickipedia.) We are at the Carlton Hotel that overlooks the Mediterranean. It has the fastest wireless internet connection I have ever seen.
SC is interested in establish both research collaborations and new business relationships in six key cluster areas. Those areas are:
Sustainable Systems (Agriculture, Water, Energy)
Transportation (Automotive and Aerospace)
Insurance and Health Information Technology
This week we will try to connect with the Israelis at different levels. We will try to better understand what made the country so innovative and how SC can benefit both the Israeli companies and ourselves. We will also try to develop opportunities for Israeli companies in SC.
I hope you will follow the daily blog posts.