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The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor has approved NIS 10.5 million in funding capital to support seven new projects in Israel's successful technology incubator program ahead of the passing of the 2006 budget.
Dr. Eli Ofer, Chief Scientist of the Ministry, said that even though the budget for 2006 had not been approved yet it was the government's responsibility to continue to invest in research and development in Israel and in particular in the incubator program.
Under the program, entrepreneurs receive the essential seed capital to support new start-ups for the first two years, developing products in the hi-tech, biotech, medical devices or environmental spheres.
The government's program, which consists of about 30 incubators, is funded by the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In 2005, the government invested $30m. in technology incubators scattered around peripherial areas in the country. The level of private investment marked a record high in 2005 reaching $175m.
Technological incubators are support corporations that give fledgling entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their innovative technological ideas and set up new businesses in order to commercialize them.
Rina Pridor, founder and manager of the program, said the fact that in 2005 risk funds invested one-third of their seed investment in incubator companies demonstrates that the program has become a vehicle for an array of attractive investment opportunities.
Among the seven projects that won approval in the latest award, four were in the field of medical devices, including Meytav Technological Incubator of Kiryat Shmona, which will develop disc replacement implants. In 2005, Meytav succeeded in raising over $20m. for its portfolio companies, mainly in the life sciences fields.
Meanwhile, Yokneam-based Naiot Venture Accelerator, a subsidiary of the Ofer Hi-Tech Group and part of one of Israel's leading industrial and commercial conglomerates will be given a grant for a surgical assistance device.
Xenia Ventures in Kiryat Gat, which invests mainly in the fields of information technology and medical devices will be funded in its project for an electronic eyesight tester.
Yozmot HaEmek Ltd. will be supported in the development of a device for the evaluation and monitoring of bone healing.
The remaining three projects are in the fields of software and materials.