UK-Israel tech partnerships a boost to Britain’s economy

Report released ahead of Prince William’s historic visit to Israel shows deals through UK Israel Tech Hub worth over $100m

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

In this file photo dated Wednesday, March 29, 2017, a British flag is shown near to Big Ben's clock tower in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)
In this file photo dated Wednesday, March 29, 2017, a British flag is shown near to Big Ben's clock tower in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)

Technology partnerships between the UK and Israel is estimated to impact Britain’s economy by hundreds of millions of dollars, and help Israeli companies gain more access to global markets, according to a new report.

The report by the UK Israel Tech Hub — an initiative of the British Embassy in Israel that promotes partnerships in technology and innovation between the two countries — said the hub has led to 175 tech partnerships in deals worth £85 million ($113 million), adding this could help boost the UK economy by potentially £800 million ($1.1 billion).

“The last year has seen more UK organizations using cutting-edge technologies in their business in areas including artificial intelligence, chatbots, blockchain and Internet of Things, and in projects such as smart cities and smart industries,” the UK Israel Tech Hub said in a statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with British cabinet minister Matthew Hancock, in Jerusalem on February 17, 2016. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

“We want the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, but to do that we need to work with like-minded tech nations,” said Matt Hancock, the UK Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, in the statement. “The UK Israel Tech Hub has given aspiring British companies the opportunity to discover Israel’s world leading innovative technology.”

The report was released ahead of Prince William’s visit to Israel later in June, the first-ever official tour to the region by a member of the British royal family. It also comes as the UK seeks to find new trading partners, as it juggles its exit from the European Union, the so-called Brexit withdrawal.

More and more UK companies are “tackling their innovation challenges and creating long-term partnerships meant to incorporate Israeli innovation into their businesses and create sustainable value for them,” said Ayelet Mavor, Director of the UK Israel Tech Hub. British banks RBS, HSBC as well as organizations such as the British National Health Service, the NHS, “are paving the way for their UK peers to work with innovators and create real win-win partnerships,” she added.

UK’s NatWest, part of the RBS group, has tried out Israeli technologies with its clients, and over the past four years the bank has been exposed to developments in Israel. Some 6.4 million customers of RBS are already protected by Israeli cybersecurity technology, the statement said.

HSBC has created a framework for implementing various Israeli technology solutions within the bank, and the hub and British philanthropists David and Judy Dangoor, have set up a program to introduce up to six Israeli technologies a year to the UK’s healthcare system. Some 84 companies have expressed interest in joining this initiative, which is also supported by the IBM Alpha Zone and DigitalHealth.London, an NHS program, the statement said.

In addition, the report said, over 150 UK companies and 490 Israeli companies engaged in hub activities during 2016-2017, and 12 UK-Israel cybersecurity deals are in progress.

“The Hub has successfully connected the vibrant tech sectors in both countries throughout the years,” said British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey in the statement. “These new partnerships mean the UK is now a major destination for Israeli innovation, and Israeli innovation is now part of many areas of life in the UK.”

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