Israel earned the title of Start-Up Nation long ago, but most of the technology companies are concentrated in the Tel Aviv area. The Tel Aviv municipal authorities have branded the city accordingly, and have recently begun trying to leverage this abroad as well. The Tel Aviv municipality is not satisfied with 1,515 high tech companies that employ 43,000 workers, and is trying to attract more companies and entrepreneurs from abroad to come to Tel Aviv to enrich the local industry.
In recent months, Global City, a Tel Aviv municipality subsidiary, launched a pilot under which it is giving incentive packages to entrepreneurs from abroad, which include complimentary accommodations for a week or two, a free workspace for three months in a start-up complex (such as a library, or Atidim 7, or other municipal-owned building), and professional support and consulting. The companies also receive legal advice, accounting help, and assistance dealing with the Israeli Corporations Authority, and other entities.
Global City CEO Hila Oren said, “We review proposals submitted by entrepreneurs who want to come to Tel Aviv, and we select the ones that are the best matches. Those that are selected receive a housing unit, which we rent through a website such as Airbnb, or Televista, and funding for a week or two, to get acclimated in the city and begin working.” The municipality claims that the value of the incentive package for entrepreneurs from abroad is NIS 50,000, but Oren says it is “smart money,” and not “live money,” and that it does not come from the municipal budget, but rather from resources pooled from the Global City’s global development budget.
Asked why Tel Aviv needs to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to come to a country that is already crowded with entrepreneurs, Oren says, “We want the industry to develop, to be diverse, and to become global. This adds knowledge, and strengthens the economy, which is turning into an economy that shares knowledge, resources, and connections. It does not come at the expense of supporting local entrepreneurs, and it doesn’t harm them.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 9, 2015
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