Israel sets up plan to keep large tech firms ahead of the curve

Innovation Authority targets firms with over $100m in sales; offers grants of up to 50% of projects’ R&D costs

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

Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority (Courtesy)
Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority (Courtesy)

The Israel Innovation Authority is setting up a new program to provide grants for research and development (R&D) at Israeli corporations that have annual sales of more than $100 million, in an effort to help them maintain a technological edge over competitors, undertake more daring projects by participating in the risk, and ensure their continued growth.

The targets of the NIS 70 million ($20 million) program are large Israeli tech companies like Check Point Technologies Ltd., Verint Systems Ltd., Mobileye, or Orbotech, the authority said in an email.

The program will give a wide variety of grants to long-term projects that develop technologies for the future. The aim, said Aharon Aharon, the Innovation Authority CEO, is to help these companies maintain a competitive edge by developing technologies for the future, assist them in penetrating new markets, and overall help strengthen the Israeli economy. The Israel Innovation Authority is responsible for the country’s innovation policies.

To be eligible for the grants, companies must have an annual R&D expenditure of at least $20 million, or alternatively have at least 200 employees working in R&D, the authority said in a statement.

The financing model offers grants of up to 50 percent of the R&D costs per project and the firms that qualify for the grants will not have to pay royalties to the authority following the development of eventual products, the statement said.

The know-how obtained from this development track will have to be registered in Israel, so that the state can profit in the long term from the resulting tax revenues.

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