Eli Groner, Israel’s Economic Envoy in Washington, spoke on Sunday at the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference. His remarks were part of a panel which dealt with what the United States can learn from Israel’s economy.
Groner was appointed to the position of economic envoy in Washington by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz last August. The economic envoy is Israel’s most senior economic position abroad.
Prior to his appointment, Groner served as a special advisor to the Chairman of Tnuva, one of Israel’s largest food manufacturers and distributors, and one of the country’s most well-known companies. He was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he served a breadth of Fortune 1000 corporations from around the world, as well as many of Israel’s leading companies.
“When you look to invest in Israel,” Groner told the audience at the AIPAC Conference, “what you’re really investing in is the Israeli people.”
He added that the people of Israel “have been able to develop a culture, not only of sophistication but of entrepreneurialism. When you talk about ‘Start-Up Nation,’ it’s easy to think of the entrepreneurialism and the ingenuity coming from the technology sector. But it really permeates all sectors.”
Groner said that Israeli companies have succeeded because they have created an environment in which employees are allowed to run with ideas with no risk of failure.
“What we’ve been able to do in Israel is create an environment…when you get out there and you see that the order given from above does not necessarily make perfect sense given the new reality, you need to adjust,” he said. “If you know you’re not going to get in trouble for thinking things through, you’re going to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism.”