Building bridges is a great thing. They connect people and cultures, break down separation, and bring businesses to jobs and jobs to businesses. In short, they fill gaps.
There’s a new bridge being built between Michigan and Israel. It’s part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Pure Michigan Business Connect program and is created in collaboration with the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (MIBB). Called Michigan Israel Connect, the goal is to bring more businesses and jobs to our state, help Israeli startups find a home here and help fill technology gaps Michigan companies may have.
The program will connect Michigan companies with technologies and products developed by Israeli companies and research institutes in areas such as agriculture, automotive, cyber security, water technologies, life sciences and defense.
Under the pilot program, Michigan and Israeli companies will be able sign up to access this free business-to-business (B2B) network and be introduced to opportunities to expand their business. The MIBB website will host a new platform to allow companies to review opportunities. MIBB also will reach out to its members to enlist pro-bono services for companies working together.
The site can be accessed at www.michiganisraelconnect.com. The portal lists incubators, and accelerators as well as independent companies.
“Michigan offers tremendous opportunities to Israel’s many companies, especially tech start-ups, interested in bringing their products to market,” says MEDC Chief Executive Officer Steve Arwood. “We commend MIBB for launching this pilot program with MEDC to create new opportunities that are mutually beneficial to our respective businesses.”
Most Israeli companies in these groups are technology related and can provide solutions that match the needs of Michigan companies. The online search portal will display available technologies as well as other products and will be marketed across Michigan industries to senior technology and R&D executives.
“MIBB is the perfect vehicle to connect Michigan and Israeli businesses, create better products to compete in the market place and keep connected the companies with feet in both Michigan and Israel,” says Beth Gotthelf, MIBB president and a Butzel Long attorney. “MIBB’s collaboration with the MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program is a win-win for all.”
“This program is a natural extension of our long-standing relationship with MEDC,” says Mike Dergis, chair of the Michigan Israel Connect implementation committee and a partner at The Hunter Group. “It allows us to further our mission of expanding business between Michigan and Israel and growing Michigan businesses. That will ultimately expand the opportunities of Michigan and Israel companies, increase economic impact in communities and add jobs.”
The platform also will encourage searches for partnerships to apply for Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation grants to stimulate, promote and support industrial R&D, the Michigan Israel Technology Connect Program (MITCP), and other bi-national funding opportunities. In addition, it will help MIBB promote research collaborations between institutions of higher learning.
In June 2014, Gov. Rick Snyder and Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad signed a bilateral cooperation agreement to promote joint industrial research and development projects. The pact is intended to promote and enhance the economic partnership between Michigan and Israel. Launched in 2011, Pure Michigan Business Connect is a public-private alliance of the Michigan.
– Author’s note: I am on the board of the Michigan Israeli Business Bridge. The opportunity to help build bridges attracted me to the group.