Israel, South Korea sign MOU to assist companies

Memorandum of understanding establishes joint $150 million venture capital fund to help businesses.

Israel Korea sign MOU (photo credit: Mark Neyman, GPO)
Israel Korea sign MOU
(photo credit: Mark Neyman, GPO)
Despite international calls to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel by some, Israel does have friends and admirers around the world. Among them is South Korea, which on Monday stepped up its strong ties with Israel by signing a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a joint $150 million venture capital fund to promote and assist small and medium sized businesses in both countries, especially those working in advanced technologies.
The signing ceremony between Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben- Eliezer and Kim Dong-Sun, the chief administrator of South Korea’s Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA), was held at Beit Hanassi in the presence of President Shimon Peres as a followup to a declaration made when Peres and Ben Eliezer visited the country in June.
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Kim Dong-Sun was accompanied by South Korea’s ambassador to Israel Young- Sam Ma, Chief Executive Officer of the Korea Venture Investment Corporation Kim Hyung-Ki, Prof. Tae-Yeung You, the Hebrew-speaking chairman of the Korea-Israel Friendship Association and chairman of the Tomorrow Foundation for Korean Youth and Rural Development, as well as other Korean dignitaries.
Young-Sam told reporters that although bilateral relations are excellent, they can still be brought to the highest possible level with new technologies from both countries.
Peres and Ben-Eliezer, who had met most of the delegation on their trip, expressed delight at seeing them in Israel, especially Kim Dong-San, who is here for the first time.
Peres called South Korea “a self made country” which had started at a very low point and had reached a high point. He and his delegation had been profoundly impressed by South Korea’s achievements and its democratic system, he said.
Noting that most businesses are small or medium, Peres said that small can sometimes be great. It was all a matter of initiative – and he had seen a great deal of initiative in South Korea.
Kim Dong-San spoke of Korea’s respect for the people and president of Israel, and recalled the joint declaration signifying the upgrading of the level of cooperation between the two countries that was made during Peres’s visit. “We are now here to implement an action plan,” he said, underscoring that among the commonalities of the two countries was the ability to transform adversity into opportunities for progress.
South Korea, like Israel, successfully overcame the global economic crisis. The two are among the few OECD member countries to do so.
For both South Korea and Israel to achieve growth, said Kim Dong-San, it is essential to promote innovation and creativity among the youth in both countries, “because they are the key to growth potential.”
The signing of the MOU, he continued, will help to assist and promote more small and medium companies, and will thus enable greater technological advancement.
The economic crisis showed the world just how delicate and fragile corporate economy is, said Ben-Eliezer, who asserted that governments must assist small and medium businesses, “which are the backbone of the economy.”
He was particularly keen that such assistance be rendered to companies working in energy and clean-tech.
This is not the first joint venture of its kind between Israel and South Korea. In 2001, the two countries signed an agreement for the establishment of a joint South Korea-Israel Research and Development Foundation known as Koril R&D, which has since financed numerous technology projects between companies from each country.