Israel picks landing pads to draw foreign entrepreneurs

Selected incubators and accelerators to act as hosts and helpers for business innovators from abroad who want to see the startup nation up close

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

As far as the eye can see: the Tel Aviv view from the Azrieli observatory (photo: Courtesy)
As far as the eye can see: the Tel Aviv view from the Azrieli observatory (photo: Courtesy)

A technological incubator investing in food tech initiatives, an entrepreneurship center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an incubator to foster agricultural technologies and a nonprofit that helps boost immigrant education are among the 12 programs selected by the Israel Innovation Authority to host foreign entrepreneurs.

The initiative is part of the authority’s Innovation Visas pilot program, announced in December, which seeks to enable foreign entrepreneurs to learn from the Israeli ecosystem and eventually also benefit from government support should they set up a startup in Israel.

As part of the Innovation Visas program, entrepreneurs may reside in Israel for up to 24 months, during which time they may submit a request to be part of the the Israel Innovation Authority’s “Tnufa” track, which provides incentives to entrepreneurs who want to develop and validate technologies.

If the initiative matures into a company, and the firms are registered locally, the foreign entrepreneurs may submit a request to receive further support from one of the Innovation Authority’s programs and to receive an expert’s visa for salaried work on their initiatives for up to five years.

Anya Eldan, the head of the Startup Division at the Israel Innovation Authority (Courtesy)
Anya Eldan, the head of the Startup Division at the Israel Innovation Authority (Courtesy)

The Innovation Authority’s supportive frameworks will provide the foreign entrepreneurs at the start of their journey in Israel with exposure to the Israeli innovation ecosystem, work spaces, technological infrastructure, and business and logistical support.

The local incubators and accelerators that have been selected will act as “landing pads” for the entrepreneurs and guide them through the local high-tech ecosystem, the Authority said.

“The landing pads selected will provide foreign entrepreneurs a ‘soft landing’ in the local ecosystem in order to formulate their innovative initiative to the point of establishing a company in Israel, enriching the Israeli industry with excellent entrepreneurship,” said Anya Eldan, the head of the Startup Division at the Authority, in a statement.

The 12 Israeli programs approved as part of the Innovation Visas initiative are:

The Tel Aviv Municipality’s Tel Aviv Global — A municipal company in charge of developing Tel Aviv and handling the Tel Aviv Municipality’s international accelerator project for urban entrepreneurship

Samurai Incubate Inc. — An investment fund and private incubator for technological initiatives in pre-seed and seed stage companies in Japan and Israel

TechForGood — An international organization advancing startups that develop innovative technological solutions for global, social and environmental issues

The Trendlines Group — A technological incubator that identifies, invests and supports companies developing novel technology in medical equipment, in agriculture and in food technology

MATI Haifa — A SME Development Center intended to develop the economy of the city of Haifa by encouraging technological and business entrepreneurship

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem — The entrepreneurship center of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which encourages and helps in the establishment of startups in the university and serves as an incubator for initiatives

Lighthouse — A shared work space to entrepreneurs who receive support and enrichment on the core issues of establishing and developing an initiative according to the entrepreneur’s needs

TheHive by Gvahim — A nonprofit intended to help higher education immigrants to integrate within the Israeli job market

Alon MedTech Ventures — A technological incubator for entrepreneurs and startups in the life sciences field, specifically in the medical device sector

Terralab Ventures — A technological incubator investing in seed stage companies and entrepreneurs, in cleantech, medtech and other fields

The Kitchen Hub — A technological incubator investing in seed and pre-seed food-tech initiatives in order to face challenges in food production

Initech digital product development – an Israeli software house supplying a wide range of technological services

The Authority is in charge of the nation’s innovation policies and aims to help foster resources and conditions to promote the nation’s technological ecosystem.

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