‘Reborn’ Cincinnati seeks deeper relationship with Israel

No longer a rust-belt relic, the Ohio River city sees itself as a natural partner for the Start-Up Nation

Artistic rendering of downtown Cincinnati (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Artistic rendering of downtown Cincinnati (Photo credit: Courtesy)

A group of 40 top business and civic officials from the Greater Cincinnati area expect to be in Israel next week to promote the city as a place for Israeli companies to do business. Like other suitors of Israeli start-ups and established firms, the Cincinnati delegation are set to inform Israeli firms of the advantages of setting up sales offices, research centers and headquarters in the United States. Like the other US states and cities seeking Israeli business, members of the delegation will proclaim their region as one of diversified business activity, good investment potential and home to a dynamic, entrepreneurial vibe that suits Israeli companies.

That’s what all the Start-Up Nation’s suitors say, but it may be more true for Cincinnati than for many other places that make the same claims, according to US experts who study business environments. In a recent article, The New York Times proclaimed Cincinnati as a newly reemerging “hub of civic and economic vitality,” that its “capacity to attract new residents and jobs reflects several converging market trends,” and that it has “a business core that is thriving.” The paper added that “decades of decay are giving way to a new era of dynamism in the Ohio River’s big cities.”

Much of the recent growth in the city, according to experts, is due to efforts by the Regional Economic Development Initiative of Cincinnati. REDI is the economic development agency for the Greater Cincinnati region. Officials of the organization “identified Israel as a key international market to build relationships and generate opportunities from Israeli businesses seeking to expand in the US,” said REDI’s Tammy Riddle. “The Greater Cincinnati region recognizes Israel as a frontier for innovation, and believes there is much to gain by both markets developing strong business connections.”

The REDI delegation includes executives from companies in various sectors, including hi-tech and biomed firms and capital funds. Members of the delegation include top Cincinnati business officials, such as Tim Schigel, CEO of Cintrifuse Fund of Funds; Glen Mayfield, founder and CEO of River Cities Capital Funds; Ken Phelps, president and CEO of Camargo Pharmaceutical Services; Steve L. Rosedale, founder and CEO of CommuniCare Health Services; Jim Stagge, senior director of business development at CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services; and Dr. Candace Gunnarsson, vice president of CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting.

Greater Cincinnati is home to a dozen Fortune 500 companies and hosts operation facilities for for more than 400 such firms. The area is home to more than 450 foreign-owned firms. More than 300 information technology companies are located in Cincinnati, with access to over 30,000 IT industry related professionals, a big advantage for Israeli tech companies looking for trained personnel in the US, REDI said.

Members of the delegation will attend the upcoming MIXiii Israel Innovation Conference, the premier Israeli tech event of the year, on May 20 through 22. They have meetings set with Israeli companies in industries such as 3D printing, data intelligence and big data, cyber security, consumer tech, fintec, connected devices and wearable tech, medical devices and pharma-development. Besides MIXiii, members of the delegation aim to attend an event organized in partnership with the City of Netanya, co-hosted by Honorable Mayor Miriam Fireberg. Netanya has a long-standing collaboration with Greater Cincinnati as a result of their partnership with the Cincinnati Jewish Federation.

“Cincinnati’s global corporations are seeking innovative partnerships that Israeli companies can offer,” said Riddle. “And Israeli companies seeking to grow in the US can benefit immensely using all the tools and resources Cincinnati has to offer.”

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