Between October 16-19, 2018 a delegation of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria was on a business trip to Israel. The group included Mr. Sergey Koinov, AmCham Bulgaria Vice-President and Member of the Board of Directors of Forton, Mr. Ivaylo Slavov, AmCham Bulgaria Board Member and Co-Chair of the Digital Committee, and CEO of BULPROS, and Mr. Petar T. Ivanov, AmCham Bulgaria Executive Director.
In addition, Petar Ivanov took part in the annual best-practices-sharing meeting of the AmCham in Europe (the umbrella organization of all AmChams in the continent). As pointed above, the host country was AmCham Israel and personally its Executive Director Mr. Odet Rose who welcomed the representatives of the 42 chambers.
The main goal of the business trip of the Bulgarian group was to study the Israeli experience in the establishment and development of a startup ecosystem, conducting meetings with venture funds, as well as to share best practices with the other American chambers across Europe.
“The Israeli experience can give us the needed ground for upgrading what was achieved in the Bulgarian digital industry. The synergy between business, government, academia, and investors could create the environment through which the Bulgarian economy and the country as a whole can make products with added value and prosper. Such a result will benefit everyone,” pointed Petar Ivanov.
The Bulgarian delegation took part in the best practices sharing program entitled Intensive Innovation Day of AmChams in Europe. During the event Petar Ivanov had talks with Mr. Patrick Michelsen, Executive Director of AmChams in Europe. They both discussed topics such as the organizational development of the Chambers, and their role for encouraging the business processes, investments, and innovation from the United States to the EU countries and vice versa.
The AmChams representatives met with Mr. Garty Yaniv, СЕО of Intel Israel, and Chairperson of the AmCham Israel. The program included presentations and case-studies on the topics “The Responsible Business Network”, “Investment and Trade Guideline from the United States”, Corporate Social Responsibility”, “Youth Professionals – part of the mission of the chamber”, as well as “AmCham Energy Lab”. In the various sessions there were presented and discussed topics related to the healthcare digitalization, and the group visited the R&D center of Intel in Israel.
The Bulgarian delegation of AmCham met with representatives of three venture funds, incl. The Bridge, which is The Coca-Cola Company venture fund, Israel Growth Partners, as well as OurCrowd. They all run startups with a total capitalization of USD 1 billion.
The meeting with the representatives of OurCrowd was continuation of the created links between both organizations since Ori Sobovitz’ visit to bulgaria and his presentation at the international forum IT HUB Connect (March 26-27, 2018)
Our representatives had a meeting at The Israeli R&D Directorate for the European Research (ISERD). There they were personally welcomed by Ms. Nili Shalev, the executive director of this institution. During the meeting it become clear that Israel has the position of Chief Innovation Officer for 30 years now, and it is being secured in the state administration no matter which party governs the state. Each year Israel has a budget for R&D that now grows to more than USD 500 million to stimulate and foster innovation. All the described measures stimulate the entrepreneurship and attracts major companies such as Intel that position their R&D centers and import know-how.
Israel: Innovation is our main natural resource.
Today in Israel there is clearly shaped entrepreneurship and investors ecosystem, and its results a more than obvious. For years now, Israel is known as The Start-up Nation. As a result, in the country plenty of venture capital funds start popping up and operate. Thus, they speed-up the development processes of the entrepreneurship and innovation and involve the universities (both professors and students) in this process.
“We have learnt exactly how Israel has become a leader in innovation, and today it invests smartly its resources. They are doing it mainly in products and services with high added value in both mass production, as well as business solutions. I was very impressed of their strategic view of the development of their program which has started some 30 years ago, and its budget has never been cut. The other fact that impressed me is their motto: “Innovation is our main natural resource,” pointed out Sergey Koinov, Board member of Forton.