Hi-tech leaders from Ohio are in Israel this week to encourage local chief executives considering expansion abroad to consider a move to their state, which recently launched a $1.6 billion campaign to attract, support and assist in the growth of Israeli technology based companies.
"Time is not only money," Dr. Zev Gurion told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, "but it can determine if a company succeeds or fails in bringing its product to the market first. Ohio will help companies get there first."
Gurion, the founder of New Global Strategies, a business accelerator based in Akron, Ohio, works together with Targetech Innovation Center of Netanya in identifying and screening Israeli companies with the potential for great success but which may lack the resources to get there.
More importantly, New Global provides newly relocated companies with complete marketing support, experts for consultation and the needed assistance for those companies to qualify for state- appointed seed-funds.
Gurion believes that co-locating to the US gives a company instant credibility and will help them grow faster.
"Other states offer lip-service, but we do more than that," said Tom Sudow, executive director of the Beachwood (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce, "this is seen as part of our survival and we will do everything we can to help a company grow."
The group is part of the Ohio-Israel Innovation forum being held in Tel Aviv, and in Wednesday's sessions Chris Mather, vice-president of NorTech, a technology-based economic development organization in northeast Ohio, pointed out that Ohio provides smaller companies with the ability to find funding as well as personal services.
Additionally, the fact that Ohio boasts a blossoming hi-tech and medical electronics industry makes it very easy for CEOs to make critical connections with other industry leaders, he said.
"In fact, no other US state has such a dense cluster of electronic and technological companies as Ohio," Mather claimed.
Part of Ohio's success in attracting foreign businesses stems from the unique approach the state has developed in seeking out these companies.
"The model that we are dealing with is publicly supported, privately led economic services," said Sudow. "Cities make money from taxes. In Ohio, this is income tax and the government realized that the investment in foreign companies will generate higher earnings for the state and more tax dollars."
Over the past four years, 20 Israeli companies have co-located to Beachwood with the assistance of the city's development center and these companies have seen growth of over 200% and revenues of $10m., according to Sudow.
"The main point we are making," said Gurion, "is that the marriage between Israeli technology and innovation with Ohio and our marketing skills is a winning combination. We are looking to create a powerful synergy in order to allow these companies to reach their full potential."
Companies that the group feels are a good match for the state will be invited to participate in a follow-up conference in Ohio this summer.