Educating US businesses about Israeli innovation

New awareness initiative in Chamber of Commerce.

BarIlanNewNanotechnologyCenter311 (photo credit: Courtesy Bar-Ilan University)
(photo credit: Courtesy Bar-Ilan University)
The US Chamber of Commerce is launching a new business initiative aimed at educating the US business community about Israeli innovation and boosting bilateral trade and commercial relations.
“Large Israeli companies have strong commercial ties with the US, but the country’s story as a leading innovation capital of the world is a story not well enough known across the mainstream business community in the US. We want to show the faces of trade of Israel,” Leslie Schweitzer, senior trade advisor at the US Chamber of Commerce, told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday in Tel Aviv. “The global economic crisis is forcing US businesses to look outside its borders for innovation, and Israel is the place they can find opportunities for synergies.”
The US-Israel Business Initiative is the first Washington, DC-based national effort to advance and strengthen USIsrael commercial relations.
The initiative will be officially launched at a conference by the US Chamber of Commerce on October 19 in Washington, marking 25 years since the Free Trade Agreement was signed between the US and Israel.
The conference will be attended by a high-profile delegation from Israel including Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, government officials and representatives from Israeli companies, as well as US government officials and US business representatives.
The US Chamber of Commerce, which is funded by its members, is one of the world’s largest private-sector organizations, representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
“Our focus will be on educating US businesses, in particular small- and medium-sized enterprises, on the amazing innovation in Israel and provide guidance for cooperation and joint ventures,” Schweitzer said.
“We are planning to launch a massive communications campaign and run road shows outside Washington – in the Midwest, Detroit, Minneapolis and other regions – to present business opportunities in Israel and how to connect Israeli innovation to American companies,” she said.
Schweitzer is a pioneer in the international trade arena, who as senior trade advisor for the US Chamber of Commerce, created the TradeRoots Initiative, a national grassroots international trade education program.
The initiative would also organize trade missions to Israel in an effort to connect US business leaders to Israeli innovation, businesses and government, and vice versa, she said.
The main sectors of interest for investing and partnering with Israel include green-tech, especially water energy, hi-tech and financial services, Schweitzer said.
“US businesses can learn from Israel as far as innovation is concerned and how to sustain start-up companies,” she said. “On the other hand, we want to encourage Israeli companies invest in the US and help them overcome impediments.”
Israel is one of America’s leading trading partners, importing approximately $15 billion a year in US-produced goods and services and exporting $25b. in goods and services to the US.
Last year, Israel was America’s 22nd largest export market, ahead of Russia, Ireland, Spain and Argentina.