Imagine the world without drip irrigation, flash memory, voicemail, cherry tomatoes, computer firewalls and more. All these inventions come from Israel, an 8 million person, 20,000 sq.km. 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 (The Economist/GE Lookahead, Dec 2014). With US$ 15 Billion in exits, 2014 was a record year for Israel’s innovation ecosystem. $3.4 Billion in venture capital were invested in 688 companies, putting the per capita investment at almost three times the US figure, with absolute venture investment second only to the US. With 6,000 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.
Relator: Ms. Nava Swersky SoferPresident & 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 of 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”.