"We have to make much more effort in order to remain a start-up nation. Unless we continue to develop an eco-system that will foster local Israeli high-tech companies, we are liable to lose our leading status in the technology world," Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) chairman Yair Seroussi told the "Globes"-Ernst & Young Journey Conference today.
"The choice of more and more Israeli high-tech companies to transfer to high-tech centers around the world, even if it is a correct and necessary move from the point of view of their development, is something we must pay attention to, and we must not presume that we will maintain our status," Seroussi said.
The Bank Hapoalim chairman also referred to IVC data published recently showing that a growing number of Israeli high-tech companies were shifting to New York. "The desire of Israeli companies to be close to their target markets is clear, but there is no reason that Israeli companies cannot build an overseas presence while their base remains in Israel. For this to happen we must not take Israeli high-tech leadership for granted. The ability of Israeli high-tech companies to dissociate themselves from Israel is a result of rapid growth of high-tech centers around the world, and a transfer of high quality manpower from Israel to these centers.
"The strategy that cultivated Israeli technological entrepreneurship greatly succeeded, but in order to preserve it we must build a supportive environment that will boost the chances of seeing Israeli companies that grow independently, and are on the acquiring rather than the acquired side," Seroussi added.
"A technology start-up, like any other small business, has to deal with the managerial challenge of making the business grow. This challenge also requires the banking system to change its patterns of thinking, and to look at the world of small business not just from the point of view of financing, but also with the idea of creating a general envelope of services to accompany businesses on the path of growth," Seroussi concluded.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 30, 2014
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