Over the past month alone there have been a least a half-dozen major events sponsored by European governments here in Israel aimed at encouraging Israeli Internet, bio-med, agri-tech, and other high-tech companies to partner with companies in their own countries. France was here, and so was Portugal, both touting their advantages for Israeli companies at special events, especially in the tech field.That sound you hear is thousands of BDSers' heads exploding.
During the recent DLD (Digital Life Design) festival in Tel Aviv, Italy for the first time sponsored a tech partnership event, presenting Italian start-ups that financial leaders in Rome felt could work well with Israelis. The UK, for over a year, has had a unique program to attract Israeli tech partners, and last week UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould threw a party for Israeli entrepreneurs, who mingled with British tech folk who were here for DLD.
In fact, an entire event was held this week to encourage Israeli deals with European companies — the 10th annual Go4Europe conference, sponsored by investment firm Cukierman and Co. Officials, companies, and representatives from all over the Continent came to the conference to encourage Israeli companies to work, do business, and open representative offices and R&D facilities in their countries. And while technology was not the focus of the event, high-tech played a major role, with many of the speakers talking tech partnerships, and a dozen Israeli tech start-ups giving short presentations to the hundreds of attendees.
Typical of the sentiments expressed was a comment by Dr. Werner Schnappauf, a partner at Graf von Westphalen, one of Germany’s largest independent law firms. Israel and the EU, and especially Israel and Germany, should work more closely, he said; it was in all parties’ interests. “In the future world economy, it appears that the question will be whether it is a G-2 world (referring to the leadership of the world economy) — the US and China — or a G-3 world, consisting of the US, China, and an EU/Israel partnership,” he said.
It sounds as if there is a contest going on for Israel’s affections — and there is, said Xavier Buck, CEO of EuroDNS, which is in charge of the Internet’s domain names in Europe. “Europe’s old industries are falling, and EU countries are desperately looking for something to replace them,” Buck told The Times of Israel at Go4Europe. “Governments see what Israel has accomplished, and they want Israel to help them become a tech power as well. They are actually fighting, if not physically, then using their marketing skills and government policy, to be the most attractive to Israeli partners.”
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