The Israeli Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Date: May, 14, 2020 | 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. - CEST

Imagine the world without drip irrigation, flash memory, voicemail, cherry tomatoes, computer firewalls, and more. All these inventions come from Israel, 9 million people, 20,000 a country which is 453 times smaller than the US and comparable in size to Fiji, Slovenia, and El Salvador.
With the highest density of start-ups in the world, Israel has become known as the “Start-Up Nation” and Tel Aviv is now ranked second to Silicon Valley among the world’s start-up ecosystems, with US$ 111.3 Billion in exits over the past decade, including 21.7 Billion in 2019 alone.$8.3 Billion in venture capital were invested in 522 deals, putting the per capita investment at almost three times the US figure, with absolute venture investment second only to the US. With 6,600 active technology companies across diverse sectors, it is no wonder that multinationals flock to Israel to acquire companies and establish R&D centres, more than 300 currently. How did a small, young, geographically isolated country with no natural resources achieve this feat? What lessons may be relevant to other countries, companies, and individuals? Nava Swersky Sofer, the innovation guru quoted in the NY Times bestseller ‘Start-Up Nation’ and an INSME board member, will share the secrets of success.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Ms. Nava Swersky Sofer

President & Founding Board Member of the International Commercialization Alliance, Canada & Founder of NanoIsrael, Israel

Nava Swersky Sofer, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, senior executive, innovation & technology commercialization expert with 25 years of international experience, is recognized as a leader in the fields of innovation, venture capital and technology transfer and is a frequently-invited speaker on these topics. In addition to company boards and international consulting, she is currently President & Founding Board Member of the Toronto-based International Commercialization Alliance; Founder of NanoIsrael, the international nanotechnology conference & exhibition, an adviser to the Israeli government on innovation and international R&D collaborations and an adviser to the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on innovation. She is the Israeli delegate to OECD’s Business & Industry Advisory Council (BIAC) nanotechnology committee and development/innovation network, a board member of Rome-based INSME, the International Network for SMEs, and of the Brussels-based Knowledge Economy Network. She is a visiting professor at IE Business School in Madrid, a member of the Board of Governors and of the 11-person Executive Committee of the Ruppin Academic Centre, one of Israel’s leading colleges, and was recently named as one of the 500 leaders pre-selected (of over 8,000 candidates) to serve on the boards of directors of government-owned corporations. She is often quoted on Israeli innovation models, including in the best-selling book “Start-Up Nation”.

Innovation Management

Date: April, 30, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

Innovation Management requires an actionable skills set to both lead and manage innovation, as Hamsa Thota reported in his fundamental book “Key Concepts in Innovation”. These skills highlighted are crucial for managers and political leaders as well.

While on the one hand skills required to lead include utilization of key concepts such as innovation work, purpose and value, policy and mindset, leadership and transformation; on the other one among the skills required to manage innovation there are the mastery of key concepts in the front end of innovation (prove the concept), the middle (utilize new product development process to build product/service) and the backend (extract value by creating compelling customer experiences and lifecycle management).

Read the insights here

Relator: Dr. Hamsa Thota

President, Innovation Business Development (IBD), Inc.

Dr. Hamsa Thota is the founder and president of US based Innovation Business Development (IBD), Inc., a company specializing in product innovation performance improvement. He has 40 years of accomplishments as an inventor, entrepreneur, innovator, and teacher. He trains and consults with organizations to improve new product success rates in the US, China and India. He holds 10 U.S. patents. He coauthored “Key concepts in innovation”, a fundamental reference book for practitioners, students and scholars of innovation. He served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Art of Science Learning (ASL) project. Under his guidance, ASL project teams explored connections among arts-based learning and scientific innovation. Working in Innovation Incubators operating in San Diego, Chicago and Worcester, MA, the project teams developed STEM based novel solutions to pressing civic challenges.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Date: March, 25, 2020 | From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. - CET

Economic growth depends on capital accumulation (investment) and technical change, two elements that are strictly related to each other.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an important driver for industrial performance and productivity growth that is highly influenced by the availability of qualified local entrepreneurs and investors, however quite difficult to find in many development countries.

In this regard, the Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment (AICEI) promoted the Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion Program (EDIP), which is a package approach aimed at developing the capacities of potential entrepreneurs/investors in order to boost their capabilities and assist them in developing their own private businesses.

The EDIP assists start-up entrepreneurs (through the Enterprise Creation Program) and represents a major mechanism as well for upgrading and expanding existing MSMEs (Enterprise Growth Program).

EDIP facilitates and endorses domestic investment that leads to the attraction of the foreign direct ones, through the UNIDO and ITPO Network, and therefore to job creation and more diversified economy. Further to the above, EDIP has evolved also into a well-structured Incubation system, currently implemented in 52 countries around the World.

Read the insights here.

Relator: Mr. Hashim S. Hussein

Head of UNIDO, Investment and Technology Promotion Office, Kingdom of Bahrain

Hashim S. Hussein is the Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Investment and Technology Promotion Office in the Kingdom of Bahrain (ITPO Bahrain) and the Director of the Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment (AICEI), along with other notable roles in economic and sustainable development oriented entities. Hashim S. Hussein has acquired a valuable experience in the field of Industrial Development, Investment and Technology Promotion over the last 30 years. He also has a remarkable experience in SME and Entrepreneurship development and as advocate for Women’s Economic Empowerment. He holds a PhD (Honors) in International Law of the Sea from the University of Nantes, France and obtained also a Doctoral Research Programme from the University of Maryland at College Park, Centre for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM), Maryland, U.S.A in the year 1989. He has worked at various responsibility levels in different countries like USA, Egypt, Sudan, Austria and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Enhancing financial literacy in Hungary

Date: February, 24, 2020 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CET

The Hungarian strategy on the enhancement of financial education has been developed considering international best practices available in the OECD/INFE framework. The strategy covers 7 years, from 2018 to 2024, breaking down its practical implementation into two-year action plan.

The strategy’s evolutionary nature enables smooth adjustment to the rapidly changing economic and technological environment if needed. The goal is to raise the level of financial capability of the Hungarian citizens in order to be smarter, more efficient in their individual and family finances. In particular, at the forefront of this strategy there are financial planning, obtaining credits responsibly, basics of financial consumer protection, more widespread use of electronic payments, etc.

The development of this strategy involves a large number of stakeholders from the public, private and civil sector and the experiences gained in the first 2 years are encouraging, although a long road needs still to be covered. All these topics will be presented and discussed more in details during the webinar “Enhancing financial literacy in Hungary” held by Mr Balogh.

Read the insights here

Relator: Mr. László Balogh

Deputy State Secretary of Financial Policy Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Hungary

Mr. László Balogh has held many relevant roles in the financial field during his career. Besides being Deputy State Secretary of Financial Policy Affairs in Hungary, he is member both of the EU and the OECD Economic Policy Committees, and the Financial Stability Board’s Regional Group in Europe. Since 2018 he is member of the EIB (European Investment Bank) Audit Committee and he has been also Vice President at the Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority (HFSA) for more than 3 years, among other roles, he has been also Ambassador in Hungary’s first Permanent Representative at the OECD. In addition to all the experiences gained through his career, he has also written a number of books and publications on financial themes.

Financial resources and capabilities for start-ups growth

Date: November, 27, 2019 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CET

The major public policy objectives in supporting business creation is to help new entities acquire resources required to successfully start and grow their businesses (knowledge, capital, networks).

Considering financial literacy and skills, many countries today offer a mix development support, set up in the combined operating processes of their development institutions, guarantee schemes and advisory support bodies. This combination has shown in the past its full value for start-ups in traditional activities.

In the recent years, due to the mediatisation of remarkably successful ventures, of record volumes of equity raising, of the development of fintech and new forms of financing, including direct financing from the “real economy”, a vision of an easier context for innovative start-ups tends to set itself up.

Still, a less rosy picture exists for the majority of new SMEs, which still face traditional weaknesses and problems, some changes creating greater difficulties for accessing finance and developing skills.

In a fast-changing situation, the need for an updated, coherent and multi-level approach to entrepreneurship and SME development, taking into account the heterogeneity of situations, is a real challenge for policy makers and development institutions.

Relator: Mr. Jean-Louis Leloir

Special Adviser to the Board of Directors, European Association of Guarantee Institutions

Jean-Louis Leloir graduated from the French High Business School ESCP in 1975. He has filled since 1979 various responsibilities (at Head Office and Branches), mostly in the field of loan guarantee schemes, in the Bpifrance group, French public development institution supporting SME financing. Formerly Credit Department Manager and Auditor, he was for the last 10 years Head of Technical Assistance and Consulting, addressing acquired expertise to foreign guarantee institutions, mostly in MENA Region and Africa, in assignments from Donors and International Institutions (World Bank Group, AFD, OECD, and European Commission). Since 2015 he has been Special Adviser to the Board of Directors of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions (AECM).

Convergence – the increasing blurring of real and financial sector roles in the financing of SMEs

Date: September, 17, 2019 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

Increasingly, the largest and/or fastest growing SME financiers globally did not start out as banks. Whether from tech companies, logistics firms, commodities traders or even Fast-Moving Consumer Goods distributors, competition from the real sector is gaining traction in the SME segment.

The real sector firms come into SME financing armed with substantial data resources and analytical skills. How is the traditional financial sector going to deal with this? Is it all threat, or is there also an opportunity from these new entrants?

Relator: Mr. Matthew Gamser

CEO, SME Finance Forum, USA

Matthew Gamser is CEO of the SME Finance Forum. He has over 35 years’ experience in private enterprise and financial sector development. He has worked for IFC for 10 years in various positions, including heading the advisory services for the financial sector in East Asia-Pacific (from Hong Kong). Prior to IFC he worked for 25 years in the private sector in management consulting and technology/small scale industry development. He holds A.B. and A.M. degrees from Harvard University, and M.Sc. and D.Phil degrees from Sussex University (UK), where his work focused on the management of technological change.

How do big data impact the transport domain?

Date: September, 10, 2019 | From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - CEST

Big Data are bringing significant transformations to the mobility and logistics market by increasing operational efficiency, delivering improved customer experience and fostering new business models.

This has been demonstrated by the TransformingTrasport, an EU-funded project that represented a strong consortium of 48 leading transport, logistics and information technology stakeholders in Europe.

During the session lessons learnt from the implementation of 13 transport pilot cases coming from 7 domains will be shared: Smart High-ways, Sustainable Vehicle Fleets, Proactive Rail Infrastructures, Ports as Intelligent Logistics Hubs, Efficient Air Transport, Multi-modal Urban Mobility, Dynamic Supply Chains.

The webinar will deepen the topic and explore the challenges and recommendations emerged during the discussion with the key players of the pilots.

Relator: Mrs. Despina Anastasopoulos

Research & Innovation Manager, INTRASOFT International, Greece

Despina Anastasopoulos’ professional experience is on implementing and managing innovative ICT projects. Her employment record involves R&D consulting in academic and public organizations, within the context of European funded projects. Mrs. Anastasopoulos joined INTRASOFT International as a Research and Innovation Manager with areas of expertise and focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, ICT tools to enhance innovation and competitiveness of SMEs. She has also been part of the Innovation Competition of INTRASOFT team. Her experience as a researcher on innovative policies for sustainable development such as smart specialization, pre-commercial procurement, clusters and open innovation contributes in the successful management and implementation of EU projects. Mrs. Anastasopoulos holds a Communication Informatics and Management Bachelor’s degree from the Technological Institute of Epirus, Greece. She also holds an MBA degree from Athens University of Economics and Business.

Vietnam, a world of opportunities

Date: June, 11, 2019 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CEST

Vietnam is considered as the golden gate for Asia Pacific market and the country’s economic outlook for 2020 is envisaged to grow up to 6.5 per cent. One of the most important investment destinations is Binh Duong, a region located in the south-east of the country, that contributes with 22 billion US dollars to the national export value and attracts partnerships and Foreign Direct Investment.

The webinar will explore the opportunities an emerging country like Vietnam can offer and will analyse the case of the Binh Duong as an example of successful Smart City that developed a smart socio-economic development model that provides real-life test environments (Living Labs) to businesses and universities to launch new technologies, applications and products, contributing to the development of modern places to live and work in.

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Relator: Ms. Maily Anna Maria Nguyen

Member, The Italian Association for Quality Culture – AICQ Industry 4.0 Steering Committee, Italy

Maily Anna Maria Nguyen is an expert of internationalisation of SMEs, in the past couple of years she also gained relevant experience in SMART CITY and SMART COMMUNITY topic. Currently she is representative of Becamex IDC Corp. (Investment and Industrial Development Corporation) in Europe. She is also head of the Desk Emilia-Romagna/Italy in Binh Duong thanks to an agreement between the Union of Chambers of Commerce of Emilia-Romagna Region, the Chamber of Commerce of Italy-Vietnam and Becamex IDC Corp. Ms. Nguyen is also member of: – the board of National Association Italy-Vietnam for the friendship, cooperation and cultural and scientific exchanges; – the Steering Committee of Industry 4.0 of AICQ (Italian Association of Quality Culture) – the AEREC (European Academy for Economic and Cultural Relations), established as a Department of the National Body for the Development of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts constituted in 1981 with the aim of promoting the Italian industry in the world by means of economic and cultural exchanges with international organizations and institutions.

Building innovation capabilities

Date: May, 16, 2019 | From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - CEST

Progressing and innovating from ‘business today’ to ‘business tomorrow’ is a challenging task, and that change is not getting any easier! While executives believe that innovation is key to achieving their objectives, research suggests that only 6% are satisfied with their innovation performance.

What often happens without a robust innovation process is that things can get out of hand. On the opposite side of the spectrum, someone (often a manager or CEO) may have one idea that they think is great and force the organization forward. When it comes to innovation, organizations seek a better way, and to follow that logical, proven approach to generate real value over the long run.
This webinar will describe how we think about innovation management and how to begin the journey to world class innovation capability and culture.

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Relator: Mr. Gerry Purcell

Managing Director, Innovation360, Canada

Gerry has over 25 years of experience as a strategy consultant and principal in leading global consultancies including BCG, A.T. Kearney and in several boutique firms. An intuitive thinker and an experienced advisor, Gerry has a confident, collaborative and personable working style. A classically trained consultant, he has worked as an analyst, program manager and partner in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, along with prior senior roles at two national financial institutions in Canada. His experience and understanding of the underpinnings of how innovation and strategy execution works, and the social, physical and structural dynamics of organizations, enables his clients to harness their entrepreneurial spirit, break new ground, communicate broadly, uncover new ideas, and seek that thought unattainable. He has had delivery oversight for product development and execution as an executive, and draws upon this experience to help clients to develop and execute their own business strategies. Gerry derives insight into the root cause of complex business problems, works with clients to develop a road map to address them and to harvest tangible results and sustainable outcomes.

Clusters and SMEs: a way to face globalisation?

Date: April, 17, 2019 | From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - CEST

The development of cooperation among companies and with university or research is probably the best way for SMEs to compete in an open economy.
Today in Europe, 39% of jobs and 55% of the total amount of wages are located in companies working in a cluster environment. This is why the EU and the member states encourage clustering and innovation through various policies. It has also be proven that SMEs working in a cluster initiative innovate faster than others and cluster organisations are forerunners in SMEs’ digitalisation.
After a short presentation of the French cluster landscape we will give some examples of best practices of SMEs development through clusters.

Relator: Mr. Alain Tubiana

Chairman, gnomon sas & Head of Master in Cluster Management, Strasbourg University, France

Alain Tubiana is an international expert and consultant on cluster management, working on collective intelligence topics for more than 20 years. He has worked 9 years as cluster manager in the Information Technology (IT) sector. In the past six years he conducted about 35 missions for cluster organisations as well as governments in France, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritius, Tunisia, Algeria, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar and French Overseas Territories, (New Caledonia, La Réunion and Mayotte). He works both on public policy design and cluster initiative support. He trained more than 90 cluster managers on site and through distance learning. He contributed to activate twelve cluster initiatives in various sectors like textile, automotive, IT, mechanics, creative industry, energy efficiency and agro-food. He developed several projects to facilitate the technology transfer from laboratories to companies and has a strong experience in business support for SMEs. He is member of the board of directors of France Clusters since 2010 and head of the French-German Master of Cluster Management at University of Strasbourg. He is benchmarking expert for ESCA, expert for the European Observatory on Clusters and Industrial Change (EOCIC) and lecturer at Kedge Business School - Marseille. Alain is also the founder of gnomon a consultancy company dedicated to cluster management and collaborative innovation.