A delegation of 130 businessmen, researchers, and government officials from Ontario, Canada is visiting Israel this week. Ontario Province Premier Kathleen Wynne, who arrived on Sunday, is also scheduled to visit the Palestinian Authority.
The visit is designed to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, with an emphasis on technology and the life sciences. Canada openly admires Israeli entrepreneurship and the "Startup Nation." Representatives from the delegation are expected to sign new agreements worth $87 million for developing joint technological ventures. The delegation also includes Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi and Minister of Minister of Health and Long Term Care Eric Hoskins.
The visit was preceded by a trip to Ontario by an Israeli delegation of journalists, who met senior government officials and a series of representatives of the research and business community there. One of the representatives, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) president and CEO Michael May, said that his company developed advanced medical equipment, and was interested in developing a non-profit hub in Israel that would incorporate several cooperative efforts. "Our interest in Israel is the same as in any country with excellence," May explained. "Israel has a wonderful history in this field and many companies seeking to export to North America." Toronto General Hospital Vascular Surgery Division head Dr. Barry Rubin said that his hospital would be the first to adopt 3D holographic imaging technology developed by Israeli company RealView Imaging in invasive cardiac procedures.
The leaders of technology companies in Canada say that despite the vast amount of knowledge in the country and its many research institutes (44 universities and colleges in Ontario Province alone), institutions there have hitherto refrained from investing in high tech, especially in startups. For this reason, the Ontario administration has recently been making large-scale investments in research and development, and in making it easier for entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas. Regional innovation centers have been established in Ontario Province (in Toronto, Waterloo, and Ottowa), and are helping startups and inviting them to join, among other things through a network of volunteer mentors.
Canada is trying to attract Israeli biotech companies, including through an extraordinary promise - a dramatic shortening of waiting times for approval of clinical trials by the local regulator. The Canadians are promising to do within one month what takes many months in most countries, and they say that 40% of the clinical trial requests are approved there within one week.
"My first task in Israel is to lead new partnerships and business agreements in order to create growth opportunities and encourage the founding of new business that will create jobs in both Ontario and Israel," Premier Wynne said today.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 17, 2016
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