Though only a small country, Israel has one of the highest concentrations of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world. On most indices, and relative to its size, Israel’s ‘Start-up’ credentials are second only to those of the United States.
The high-tech sector is one of the most dynamic and competitive of the Israeli economy, it is an engine of growth which creates high-paying jobs and is heavily export-oriented. It utilizes and generates a highly-skilled workforce. And it has a strong commercialization focus – turning the bright ideas from research and academia into marketable and profitable business products.
Israel’s high tech sector is part of a broader ecosystem which enables and encourages innovation, and which spans academia, the military, government policy, regulation and capital markets and industry. An active and innovative government policy has been central to the creation and flourishing of Israel’s high-tech sector.
The Start-Up Nation
Israel has a reputation as an incubator of innovation, enterprise and disruptive new business ideas, encapsulated in its tag as ‘Start-Up Nation’ (after the book of the same title).
There are over 70 Israeli companies listed on the NASDAQ, making Israel second only to China as an overseas presence on this high-tech exchange. In the first half of 2016 Israel attracted over $2.8 billion of investment into 361 Israeli start-ups and closed104 exit deals in 2016 for a total of $10 billion, up 12% from 2015.
On a per capita basis, Israel attracts twice as much venture capital as the United States and thirty times more than the whole of Europe. R&D expenditure in Israel is an OECD-high of 4.2% of GDP. More than 270 multinationals have established in excess of 320 advanced R&D facilities throughout Israel, making Israel an R&D lab for the world’s leading tech firms including Apple, Google, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, HP, Siemens, GE, IBM, Cisco and many more.