Environmental startups to get new state-supported lab

Environmental startups to get new state-supported lab

Israel Innovation Authority calls on local and foreign corporations to submit proposals to set up innovation lab to boost startups dealing with environment and sustainability

Pollution in Haifa, April 15, 2015. (Basel Awidat/FLASH90)
Pollution in Haifa, April 15, 2015. (Basel Awidat/FLASH90)

The Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Economy and Industry have set out a NIS 14 million ($3.84 million) initiative to help set up a new technological innovation lab to promote startups in the field of environmental protection and sustainability.

The authority is calling on Israeli and foreign corporations to submit proposals for setting up the lab, which, if selected, they will then operate for a three-year period.

The candidate corporations that will be chosen to set up the laboratory will get funding to build the technological infrastructure and ongoing lab operations, as well as financing for participating startups to help them reach a “proof of concept” stage.

“Our vision is that the innovation lab will develop into an entire ecosystem of unique startups, investors, and Israeli and multinational companies that will help implement innovative technologies and impact the lab with their vast experience in the industry,” said Anya Eldan, VP of the Israel Innovation Authority and head of the Startup Division, in a statement released by the authority.

The lab will scout for startups in the fields of environmental protection and sustainability and support their proof of concept projects. This involves providing startups with access to technological infrastructure, assisting them in determining their product’s commercial viability, supporting project execution, opening marketing channels, exposing them to know-how and expertise, and creating connections with investors, partners, and corporate clients, the statement said.

Priority will be given to technologies that provide solutions to help cut high pollution rates of manufacturing industries, the statement added.

The lab will also serve as a platform to promote cooperation between industry and academia in the sector.

“Achieving environmental sustainability goals has massive economic potential, including higher rates of productivity and industrial innovation,” said Oz Katz, head of the Industries Administration at Ministry of Economy and Industry. “The lab will promote more sustainable manufacturing processes and implement innovative methods that solve industry-based environmental requirements.”

Companies that win the tender to operate the lab will receive financial support of 33 percent of the cost of setting up technological infrastructure — 50% if the lab is established in the nation’s geographic periphery — for a maximum of NIS 4 million, as well as financial support of 50% of the costs of ongoing lab operations, at a maximum of NIS 500,000 per year over the course of three years. There will be no requirement for a financial investment in the startups that have been accepted to the lab.

Companies selected to participate in the lab will be eligible for financial support of up to 85% of the approved project’s budget up to a maximum of NIS 1 million.

The new lab will be part of the Israel Innovation Authority’s existing innovation labs program, which since its launch in 2017, has already established five technological innovation labs, all of them active today, in the fields of smart automotive industries, smart infrastructure in construction, 2D and 3D print technologies, food tech, and industry 4.0, when traditional industry is upgraded with digital processes.

The current initiative is part of an Environmental Protection Ministry program started in 2018, when the ministry and the Israel Innovation Authority joined forces to create pilot programs to support Israeli environmental technologies that are ripe for commercial application on an industrial scale.

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