ISRAELI-ARAB ENTREPRENEURS TO MEET SAJID JAVID, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS IN THREE-DAY ‘ARABTECH’ DELEGATION UK VISIT
TEN START-UPS HEAD TO LONDON TO PROMOTE PARTNERSHIPS WITH UK COMPANIES AND ENCOURAGE DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATION AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY FOR ARAB MINORITY IN ISRAEL
Wednesday 2nd December 2015: A delegation of Israeli-Arab entrepreneurs is meeting the UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid MP, rounding off a three-day tech trip to London where they are meeting some of the capital’s most innovative technology companies and services. Although 7,000 start-ups have been founded in Israel in the past decade – more than any other country outside the US, the nation’s Arab minority currently faces unequal opportunities within this thriving sector.
While Israel has been dubbed the “Start-Up Nation” for its unique tech ecosystem, tech-savvy Israeli-Arabs have struggled to compete with Tel Aviv’s tech scene, due to geographic distance from the centre of the country, limited funding, lack of access to social networks which are key to success and the disadvantage in Israel, of not serving in the army. However in recent years a promising tech cluster has emerged in the Arab community, centred around Nazareth. This Arab town (with a mixed population of Muslims and Christians), known for being Jesus’ hometown, and its surrounding neighbourhoods are now establishing a reputation as the hubof Arab entrepreneurship and innovation in Israel, yet it still faces many challenges..
In response, the UK Israel Tech Hub at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, a public-private initiative aiming to build a stronger tech partnership between the countries, has been investing in an initiative to help Israeli-Arab rising-stars develop their skills and foster business relationships abroad. By encouraging them to set the UK as their destination to grow and expand globally and giving them knowledge of the international tech market it is hoped that the entrepreneurs will create success stories that will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, and will have a better chance of becoming part of the Israeli economic mainstream.
Yet, what might appear to be a social and political development is first and foremost a business project, with the UK identifying huge potential within the Israeli-Arab start up space for its own economy. The Arabtech delegation mission is showcasing 10 promising entrepreneurs from Nazareth to British accelerators, investors, companies and leaders from the UK’s tech ecosystem to create win-win partnership opportunities and business value for both sides. With the global market for Arabic language digital content and services growing at double-digit rates annually, partnerships between talented Arab entrepreneurs from Israel and leading UK digital media and publishing companies could enable exciting new market opportunities for both sides.
The diverse delegation represents the best of this budding community, with half the delegates being Muslims, and the other Christians. The group also encompasses a rare gender balance in tech missions, with four women on-board.
During the trip, each start-up has been matched to a London counterpart, from a similar sector, shadowing experts to gain a deeper understanding of how they work. They were offered learning opportunities with innovative giants such as BT, Wayra and the chance to network at the Google campus. And they were introduced to UK businesses that could be potential business or strategic partners. Through meeting Britain's first Asian cabinet minister Sajid Javid, it is hoped that his experience of overcoming cultural barriers will be a source of inspiration as the visit draws to an end.
British Ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, said:
"The British economy can greatly benefit from partnering with start-ups from Israel's Arab community. Just like other sectors of the Start Up Nation, entrepreneurs from this community bring huge amount of talent and innovation. The British Government, through its UK Israel Tech Hub, is proud to introduce the British business community to tech opportunities from this community".
The start-ups represented are: