Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the State of Israel and the founder of the Zionist movement, once said “If you will it, it is no dream; and if you don’t, a dream it is and a dream it will stay”. Indeed, during our 5th business delegation from Gibraltar to Israel as part of the Gibrael Chamber, we have witnessed first-hand, how dreams are turning into reality. Visual sensors for flying cars, machines that produce water from air, $1 million fighter pilot smart helmets, nano-technology for enrichment of gold jewellery… these are just a few of the latest mind-blowing innovations that the delegates were exposed to as part of their visit to Israel.
As part of this four-day trade-mission, the delegation travelled to 4 cities (Tel Aviv, Haifa, Kfar-Saba and Jerusalem), visited 3 technology accelerators, met with countless entrepreneurs and attended 2 large conferences. Commenting on her experience, Josiane Richardson of Richardsons Chartered Surveyors said: “Without a doubt, the passion, energy and dedication the Israelis deploy towards their start up nation will mean they will be leading the global technological revolution mankind needs to sustain our planet. Gibrael have access to a high-level network of people in Israel and Ayelet and Eran Shay have a unique and generous attitude in the way they introduce the delegation to their network. The manner in which the chamber conducts these eye-opening experiences is extremely professional. I am sure this trip will create lifelong bonds for me”.
“If you will it, it is no dream; and if you don’t, a dream it is and a dream it will stay.”
At Takwin Labs in Haifa, a technology accelerator dedicated to Arab entrepreneurs and sponsored by two of Israel’s largest Venture Capital firms, delegates were told about the peaceful coexistence between people of different faiths and cultures in the city of Haifa and how a different approach is sometimes required in order to encourage innovation within ethnic minorities in Israel. Talking to analysts from Israel’s StartUp Nation Central Organisation, the delegation learnt about the secrets to how Israel has become a hi-tech powerhouse and the importance of Government support in stimulating investments in this sector. Indeed, the Israeli Government has various programs in which it matches dollar to dollar investments made by the private sector. The role of the compulsory army service for 18- to 21-year-olds was also highlighted as one of the biggest human resource enhancement platforms through which young people develop into leaders and train to solve problems in innovative ways. Solomon Cohen of Cohen & Massias Jewellers & Watchmakers-commented: “What tiny Israel, with a population of just 8 million, has achieved in 70 years, in every field of human endeavour, no other country has achieved and all this despite being surrounded by enemies and being thrown into 7 wars. Gibraltar will use smart Israeli technology to improve the everyday lives of every human being on our planet”.
An important aspect of the delegation was to network with many interesting and diverse professionals from a wide variety of sectors. Participating at the Tel Aviv Fintech Week Conference, delegates have met many fintech entrepreneurs and heard about some of the latest trends in the blockchain industry, with Gibraltar featuring prominently amongst the jurisdictions mentioned. In Jerusalem the delegation attended the OurCrowd Global Investors Summit, which saw over 10,000 investors and entrepreneurs from 183 countries attending. At this huge conference, delegates had the opportunity to listen to world renown personalities such as top video blogger Nas Yassin, Noble Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, TechCrunch News Editor Frederic Lardinois and many more. According to Nadine Collado of the University of Gibraltar: “Being part of this week’s Gibrael Delegation has been a very positive experience for the University of Gibraltar. With a particular emphasis on meeting senior representatives of Hitech start-ups as well as a variety of top-level institutions and meeting executive members of universities we are now looking at establishing collaborations with relevant parties.
This is in particular in the area of blockchain tech, software development, cyber security, executive programmes amongst others.”
“Gibraltar will use smart Israeli technology to improve the everyday lives of every human being on our planet.”
Besides the professional side of the visit, the delegation enjoyed some of the famous sites of the Old City of Jerusalem, the spectacular views from the top of Mount Carmel in Haifa, sampled Tel Aviv’s night life, as well as tasted some of Israel signature dishes and danced the night away at the after-party of the OurCrowd Conference. “We work hard, we play hard!” says Eran Shay, President of Gibrael Chamber.
No doubt the delegation will be coming back with much inspiration and significant business opportunities, and as explained by Gibrael Chamber’s Chairwoman, Ayelet Mamo Shay: “Besides the Israeli market, the delegation also opens the door to many delegates to do business between themselves here in Gibraltar. We become a family!”
Commenting on his experience, Mark Recagno from the Gibraltar International Bank said: “It was a pleasure to be part of the delegation. I loved the experience, but more importantly I take with me a friendship amongst people which I have thoroughly enjoyed the company of.”
Gibrael Chamber is already working on planning the next delegations to Israel for later this year.
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