The Israel Innovation Authority is planning to set up a new food technology incubator in Safed at an investment of NIS 100 million spread over eight years. The Innovation Authority is conducting a competitive process for establishing the new incubator, to be added to 18 existing incubators, including a food tech incubator in Ashdod.
Industrial companies are expected to take part in the bids, involving, among other things, the amount of their investment in the project. The minimum investment for a bid is NIS 50 million, and the highest rating for bids will be given to proposed investments of NIS 150 million, which will bring the total investment to NIS 250 million. The winning company will benefit from preferential terms: a NIS 600,000 annual budget for operating the incubator and an additional NIS 1 million budget for each startup up accepted into the incubator. Startups accepted into the incubator will receive grants of up to NIS 5 million.
Food tech is a field of technology that has recently been growing rapidly. For example, Prince Constantijn van Oranje of the Netherlands, head of Dutch innovation organization StartupDelta, currently in Israel on a visit, said that food tech was one of the important areas in which the Netherlands was seeking cooperation with Israel to supplement its own highly developed food industry. The purpose of the new incubator is to find technological projects in the next generation of food and beverages, releasing agricultural areas used to grow animal feed for use in growing human food, streamlining food growing processes while preserving sustainability, shortening the supply chain for consumers in order to preserve the freshness and safety of food, streamlining supply and production methods in order to improve food distribution and prevent waste and surpluses, and adapting food production to the consumer's personal taste and health.
The previous competitive bids attracted companies and organizations from Israel and the rest of the world, including venture capital funds, multinationals, and others, which brought great value to the companies in which they invested and serve as an entry gate to the companies' international target markets. The incubator is expected to develop local entrepreneurship in the area and help build an ecosystem of regional innovation by connecting investors, strategic partners, startups, and regional anchors.
Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said, "Promotion of industry, employment, and innovation in the northern outlying areas is a high-priority task for the Ministry of Economy and Industry. Setting up a new incubator in the upper Galilee will attract investment, industry, and human capital to the region, thereby sparking regional economic development."
Innovation Authority CEO Aharon Aharon said, "The current global focus on the food tech industry is motivated by a forecast that by 2050, it will be necessary to feed 9.6 billion people. It is extremely important to generate solutions for this growing problem, and we are doing this, among other things by setting up the new incubator in Safed, where academic research is being conducted on the subject and there are cooperative ventures between research institutions and large food companies in Israel. These foundations, together with the new incubator, will help in the founding of new startups that will make it possible to consolidate an important innovation ecosystem and reinforce the food tech industry in Israel."
Innovation Authority VP startup division Anya Eldan said, "The technology incubators plan constitutes a key platform for Israeli companies taking value created in higher education. The technology incubators have proved themselves as an important tool for creating innovative companies on the basis of academic knowledge in a variety of areas. Of the 18 incubators that have already been selected, only The Kitchen Hub, located in Ashdod and owned by the Strauss group, focuses on investments in the food sector. Over the past four years, the Strauss group in general and The Kitchen Hub incubator in particular have done fine work in building an ecosystem for food tech. Today there are 400 food tech companies, and it is important to the Innovation Authority to get more companies involved in open innovation in the sector in order to help companies become established, grow, and become global leaders."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 6, 2018
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