New pact to open Indian market to Israeli startups

Unmasked - iCreate chairman Manoj Kumar Das and Ambassador Ron Malka. On screen - Eugene Kandel  / Photo: iCreate

Startup Nation Central and Indian tech incubator iCreate signed an MOU on collaboration between Israeli and Indian companies.

Yesterday, in the presence of the ambassadors of both countries - India and Israel - the CEO of Indian technology business incubation center iCreate, Anupam Jalote, and Eugene Kandel, CEO of Startup Nation Central (SNC), signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in making the Indian market accessible to Israeli companies through collaborations.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, with the participation of Israeli ambassador to India Ron Malka and the Israeli consul general in Mumbai, Yaakov Finkelstein. Prof K. VijayRaghavan, principal scientific advisor to the government of India, and India's ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Kumar Singla, participated online.

The agreement signed yesterday was the fruit of a process that began with the visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India in 2018 and his meetings with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vered Mivzari, director for India and Africa at SNC, who led the process for SNC, said that she became acquainted with iCreate when working at the office of the Israeli economic attaché in Delhi, in the course of accompanying Netanyahu's entourage on his visit to India. Mivzari says that the current initiative is in the framework of the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F), run jointly by the Indian Department of Science and Technology and the Israel Innovation Authority, that was set up on the occasion of the same visit, at an investment of $40 million for five years.

Mivzari describes the cooperation agreement signed yesterday as "a market penetration plan", intended for mature Israeli companies in need of intermediaries and product adaptation in order to sell in the Indian market.

"iCreate is a semi-government body which is defined as an accelerator but which in fact works more as an incubator for startups," she explains, adding, "It was set up by Prime Minister Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat, before he was elected prime minister of India. Its activity is dear to his heart because he aspires to turn his home state Gujarat into the Silicon Valley of India.

"We offer online services for creating opportunities for Israeli startups which will now not need to go to India physically. They will be able to do everything required, online and at a minimal investment, to crack the challenges involved in entering the Indian market, such as finance, and the business-cultural gap."

Companies participating in the program will be connected to dealing with the coronavirus, but such as offer long-term solutions, not just for the current situation. Another area is renewable energy. "The collaboration model in India requires a successful trial in a pilot program, in order later to progress to commercialization or strategic investment," Mivzari says.

Ambassador Malka said at the ceremony, "This memorandum of understanding between two bodies that promote innovation and entrepreneurship represents the closing of a circle that began at the time of the visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who together with Prime Minister Modi inaugurated this incubator where we are signing this agreement today. This is another milestone in the growing cooperation between the two countries, in accordance with the vision of the prime ministers."

"This agreement is an important step in exploiting the potential of Israeli-Indian relations in technology and innovation," said Kandel. "I'm sure that this partnership will pave the way for business leverage for more Israeli startups with Indian organizations and companies."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 23, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Unmasked - iCreate chairman Manoj Kumar Das and Ambassador Ron Malka. On screen - Eugene Kandel  / Photo: iCreate
Unmasked - iCreate chairman Manoj Kumar Das and Ambassador Ron Malka. On screen - Eugene Kandel / Photo: iCreate
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