Israeli Ambassador Speaks about the Miracle of the Israeli Start-up Nation at ISET
Thursday, 20 February, 2014

On February 18, 2014, ISET hosted the Israeli Ambassador to Georgia, H.E. Yuval Fuchs. The ambassador gave a great presentation about the miracle of Israel as a start-up nation.

At the beginning of his presentation, the Ambassador showed a video reflecting some products from Israel’s hi-tech industry. He then began his speech by presenting figures from the Israeli economy and comparing them to Georgia’s economy. The figures indicated that today Israel’s high-tech industry is the world leader. For example, in only one year Israeli hi-tech businesses had 7.6 billion dollars’ worth of exit. However, as Ambassador Fuchs pointed out, high technology was not Israel’s niche at the beginning of the 1960s.

On the contrary, at that time the country was predominantly associated with the export of oranges. People’s consciousness was different as well. As ISET Director Eric Livny added, the youngsters of the past dreamt about becoming salesmen. No one thought about becoming an innovator. Israeli followed a long and difficult path before it was able to stand among the world’s leading hi-tech producing countries. As the ambassador explained, the “miracle” did not happen overnight. The country first developed its arms industry and then started developing the hi-tech industry, with huge support from the government at start-up. Israel is now doing its best in advanced technologies – this was not only a result of the government’s activity, but people’s perceptions have also changed as well. Today, as Mr. Livny commented, Israeli youngsters dream about becoming innovators and engineers rather than salespeople.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session that involved a debate about Georgia’s future. What should the country do? Ambassador Fuchs recommended that the country should stimulate the development of its hi-tech industry, not only via subsidies but by changing people’s perceptions as well. Georgia should try to urbanize more people and give them incentives to become involved in innovation and entrepreneurship.

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