Sources inform ''Globes'' that Kinarot-Jordan Valley Technology Incubator, which is still proving its talents under the new management of Canada’s SPI Group, owned by Ronald Stern, is replacing its CEO. Assaf Barnea will take over from Dr. Eli Yahalom, who was appointed on December 1, 2006.
Until two months ago, Barnea served as VP business development of Mekorot National Water Company, which collaborates with Kinarot. Barnea oversaw the establishment of Mekorot’s incubator - WaTech Entrepreneurship and Partnership Center for Water Technologies.
Kinarot was privatized as an incubator specializing in water technologies. The incubator was on the verge of collapse when, in November 2006, Technical Incubators Program director Rina Pridor sent Stern a warning that if SPI did not meet its financial commitments under the privatization agreement, the government wiould cancel the sale.
Yahalom was appointed CEO of Kinarot shortly afterwards, and the incubator received a three-month extension to meet the privatization milestones set by Pridor. The extension expired several months ago. The Technical Incubators Program did not closely adhere to the milestones because cancelling the privatization was tantamount to a death sentence for the incubator, which none of the parties wanted to execute.
In recent months, its seemed that Kinarot was on the road to recovery. The replacement of Yahalom with Barnea comes as a surprise. Yahalom told “Globes”, “I think that Barnea is an excellent choice. Kinarot is en route towards collaboration with Mekorot, and he’s the right man.”
Kinarot currently has five portfolio companies: Labonnet Ltd., which does not operate in the water sector; and four new water technologies projects, three of which Yahalom brought to the incubator and one of which is still undergoing review by the Technical Incubators Program.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on October 14, 2007
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