Israel's Ministry of defense is preparing to set up an innovation center, in which it will assist entrepreneurs to nurture innovative technology development plans and support each project with hundreds of thousands of shekels, sources inform "Globes."
The program called INNOFENSE is being led by the Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure and the Ministry of Defense Chief Economist Ze'ev Zilber.
In the coming few days, the Ministry of Defense will publish a call for proposals, which will invite entrepreneurs to submit development plans as part of the innovation center, which will operate in cooperation with the international SOSA global innovation platform and the iHLS accelerator, which operates in the fields of defense and homeland security.
The Defense Ministry told "Globes" that the innovation center will be set up on the basis of an innovative business model that will ensure maximum flexibility for the entrepreneurs working in it as well as access to sources of knowhow and technology development sources in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the various units of the Ministry of Defense.
A senior defense source said that in the coming weeks, 10 ventures will be chosen to operate in the innovation center in a pilot trial. Five of these ventures will operate in the offices of the iHLS accelerator in Tel Aviv's Kiryat Atidim high-tech park and the other five in the offices of SOSA in south Tel Aviv. All the projects accepted into the pilot program will receive a grant of $50,000 from the Ministry of Defense for use over a six month period with business support from iHLS or SOSA.
These services will include assistance in promoting the plan from the concept stage through to proof of technological feasibility, and subsequently support for business development and help in entering relevant markets. The entrepreneurs will also receive assistance and direction from the defense establishment with staff from the Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure and IDF units supporting the ventures by focusing them on their future technological needs.
A senior Israeli defense source told "Globes," "We will support the various projects that will be chosen for the innovation center over a two to three year period, while being flexible about the specific needs provided to each venture. If out of these 10 projects we will find the next Iron Dome (Israel's short-range missile defense system), then we will be very satisfied. The innovation center will operate in all the worlds of content that might interest us - from outer space to deep water and everything in between. It could be new methods or approaches in the field of cybersecurity, medicine and more."
The technologies being developed in the innovation center will be dual purpose - with defense and civilian/commercial applications. The Ministry of Defense explains that the purpose of this duality is that later on the entrepreneurs will be able to market their products and systems on international markets. The Ministry of Defense will not have IP rights on the commercial products but will receive a special license for defense systems use.
Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure head Brig. Gen. (res) Dr. Daniel Gold, who led development of Iron Dome, said, "The new innovation center will be a professional and technological meeting place for every dual idea and initiative in the competitive civilian market. A professional team offering close support and a generous financial grant will help every startup entrepreneur who chooses to break through as far and as high as possible, so that the fruits of the venture will be enjoyed by the various defense organizations alongside business-economic-commercial success."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 11, 2019
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