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Israel, UAE initiative sets up LinkedIn community to promote tech ties

Start-Up Nation Central teams up with other groups to connect innovation ecosystems; network has thousands of online members, who plan to meet in person when pandemic permits

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

The flags of Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and the US flying outside the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on September 15, 2020, in a Tweet posted by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, as Israel, the UAE and Bahrain sign the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington, DC. (Twitter)
The flags of Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and the US flying outside the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on September 15, 2020, in a Tweet posted by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, as Israel, the UAE and Bahrain sign the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington, DC. (Twitter)

Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization that aims to connect Israeli startup firms to corporations, governments and organizations around the world, is setting up a network of over 1,000 business and tech leaders from the UAE and Israel.

Called the UAE-IL Tech Zone and touted as “the first community of its kind,” the aim is to link the innovation ecosystems of both sides, the founders said in a statement.

The community, which already has people from the business, innovation and technology sectors, including investors, developers and government entities from both countries, hopes to make connections to help Israeli entrepreneurs deepen their understanding of the business and innovation culture in the UAE, the statement said.

Israel and the UAE signed a normalization agreement in September, paving the way for a buzz of business and tourist activity.

The group currently runs on LinkedIn, the business networking platform, and when possible, members will take part in physical meetings via delegations in both countries, workshops, round tables, conferences and other relevant activities, to emphasize the strengths that each country brings.

During 2021 the community will use a dedicated digital platform to enable its members to hold discussions on a variety of subjects, including high-tech investments, fintech, cybersecurity, agriculture, smart transportation, and other relevant subjects, the statement said.

“The purpose of the community is to provide a cultural and business bridge between the two countries through innovation and technology,” said Michal Seror, Start-Up Nation Central director of Community Development, in the statement. “Our experience proves that communities are one of the most successful levers for promoting business cooperation. We invite entrepreneurs, senior business executives and government officials, and technology companies to join our exclusive community.”

The new community was set up by Israel’s Noa Gastfreund, managing director of Hybrid, an accelerator for early-stage startups with at least one Arab founder; Guy Katsovich, co-founder of Fusion LA, which helps Israeli technology ventures penetrate the US market; and Basil Farraj, CEO of the startup Nobex Technologies, which provides digital solutions for audio applications through an online platform and enables building mobile applications in a few clicks. The platform provides services to 30 million users, and has streamed more than 500 million sessions.

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