Slovak Innovation Mission to Israel

3 days full of inspiration, new connections and cultural experience. This is how we could define our first innovation mission of this year in Israel. Our delegation consisted of app. 50 people from the academia, startup and innovation environment, public institutions, including the government representation from the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic, State Secretary Peter Svec, from the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic, Chief Innovation Officer Michaela Krskova.

What did we experience in Israel?

A visit to the municipality of Be’er Sheva and a meeting with representatives of the city responsible for innovation policy

A meeting with the national innovation community Cyber7, which operates in the field of cyber security, and the Tech7 venture studio

We walked through the Gav-Yam Negev Tech Park, a technology park that provides a high-end and unique work environment adapted to the specific needs of the global high-tech industry;

With a guided tour, we got to know the historic old city of Jaffa

We visited the tallest building in Israel, the Azrieli Sarona Building, where EIT Hub Israel presented to us the support for the growth of innovative start-ups in the EU and Israel

Tel-Aviv University showed us how it supports interdisciplinary scientific research of the information age, digital transformation and cyber security

In CityZone, we saw what it looks like in a living laboratory for people, municipalities, corporations and entrepreneurs

We got an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the innovation ecosystem thanks to Start-Up Nation Central

We participated in the conference Slovakia – The Technology Talent Hub, which emphasized the importance of Slovak technological talent in front of Israeli-Slovak representatives from the innovation ecosystem

The last point of the program was the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival and the CyberTech Global exhibition, where we had the opportunity to watch panel discussions and meet regional and foreign innovators

Israel is a leading example and role model of how underdeveloped region can turn into one of the most innovative countries in the world within a decade.

FACTS: Israel has a thriving innovation ecosystem with over 7300 startups and tech companies, 430+ VC funds and 160+ accelerators and incubators and over 500 R&D centers of MNCs.

What are the key takeaways from this experience?
Connecting innovations & Easily accessible innovation infrastructure. A key element in this process is the creation of connections and collaborations – between the academic, public and private sectors. This helps create an infrastructure that is easily accessible and open. As we’ve heard from Israeli innovation ecosystem representatives, you only need one person to connect you with the right people and institutions.
Entrepreneurial spirit. Chutzpah is a quality of Israelis that says there is nothing really there stopping you from doing whatever you want.
Highlighting the importance of early-age education in science. Transforming economy to be more innovative is a long-term process. It doesn’t happen overnight; therefore, we have to stem it from childhood.
“Sacred” innovation policy. We’ve learned that continuity is a must when it comes to innovations. It is important that government changes have no effect on the innovation policy, which allows the innovation policies to be conducted over a longer time.
Mandatory military service. Military service for both girls and boys is crucial for developing strong self-confidence, hard and soft skills among younger generation. It is also a key environment and funder of innovations, especially in the field of cybersecurity.
Diversity of density of innovation.
Diversification is equally important for ensuring sustainability and stability of the innovation ecosystem. Besides this, the variety of verticals attracts more investors.

Our most sincere thanks for this journey goes to the Slovak Embassy in Tel Aviv (Oliver Buzek), Slovak Alliance for Innovation Economy (Michal Kardos, Marcela Spacirova), Kosice IT Valley (Miriama Huckova, Lívia Gaľová), CIVITTA (Peter Kolesar, Eva Šimeková) who helped us make this mission possible, as well as to all the participants who made this an unforgettable experience. Toda raba and see you soon!

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