More than 300 Bahraini and Israeli business leaders attended the opening ceremony of the "Connect2Innovate” conference which kicked off this evening, Monday, and will continue until March 15 in Manama. The first-of-its-kind event was organized by Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organization that connects governments, companies, and investors to the Israeli innovation ecosystem, in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the EDB, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Israel, and the Embassy of Israel in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
During the opening ceremony, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to promote human capital development between Bahrain and Israel. SNC signed an MoU with Tamkeen, which plays a crucial role in Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030 to support the private sector and reinforce its role as a key player in national development, strengthening cooperation in human capital development between Bahrain and Israel.
The conference included a recorded speech by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, where he welcomed the guests of the first conference of business leaders "Connect2Innovate” and referred to his official visit last December and his meeting with HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. The Israeli president praised the culture of peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance in Bahrain and praised the initiative to host the first conference that gathers both nations, providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs and companies to communicate and share expertise, to build a foundation for a prosperous future of cooperation and economic relations between the two countries, to achieve common goals and interests, expressing his thanks to H.E. the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, the EDB and Start-Up Nation Central for this wonderful initiative, wishing them all success and prosperity.
For his part, H.E. the Minister of Industry and Commerce Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro delivered a speech in which he stressed that Bahrain today represents a prominent investment center, while Israel is a famous center for research and development of modern technology. By combining both our strengths, we have the ability to transform the region and work together to meet today's challenges and build a bright future for all.
H.E. added that this event affirms the growing partnership between Bahrain and Israel, noting that it will address challenges facing financial technology, manufacturing, logistics, water, energy, and climate sectors and identify new growth opportunities. In addition to sharing experiences and best practices to find innovative solutions for technological ecosystem development and human capital investment.
Moreover, H.E. continued that the Kingdom of Bahrain is an attractive destination for startups in the field of innovation and technology through its youth, ambitious workforce with high scientific qualifications and thriving ecosystem. Bahrain's advanced digital infrastructure, and the adoption of cloud computing, contributed to attracting global partnerships and leaders, and the Kingdom's commitment to innovation, digital economy, forward-thinking, and attractive regulations made the Kingdom an innovation hub.
"The relationship between Israel and Start-Up Nation Central and the Kingdom of Bahrain is true and honest, created by the desire to deepen the fruitful cooperation between both countries. I am proud to say that approximately three years after the signing of the Abraham Accords, collaborations, in all fields, are expanding and we always strive to grow them even more. I am confident that the technological tools and products developed by the Israeli startup companies will bring great benefit to the Bahraini economy and vice versa," said H.E. Khalid Yusuf Ahmed Al Jalahma, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to Israel.
“Taking the Accords from a vision to reality, relations between our two countries are moving forward as we harness both countries’ added values- our human capital, mutual quest for peace, security and prosperity through innovation, economic cooperation and progress. The conference will allow our business communities to explore ways to cooperate moving forward and together, by creating a model whereby close friendly relations plus cooperation in innovation equals opportunities for growth and prosperity,” said H.E. Eitan Na’eh, Ambassador of Israel to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
“As our region moves from being a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one, Israel and Bahrain are prime to work together toward achieving this vision. Together, we will blaze a new path forward and this conference is just the beginning as long-lasting relationships form solutions to common challenges are identified,” said Avi Hasson, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central. Hasson added, “We thank our colleagues in Bahrain for their partnership and pride ourselves to be part of Team Bahrain from now on.”
“Connect2Innovate” is the first conference of its kind, gathering government officials, large corporations, international organizations, business communities and technology innovators to focus on challenges in fintech, logistics, supply change, water, energy and climate.
The conference includes workshops on building the technological ecosystem and developing human capital, enabling the two countries to exchange knowledge and best practices, through the participation of a delegation of more than 50 government officials, businessmen and investors in Israel. The 2nd and 3rd days of the conference will include professional workshops, lectures, panel discussions, presentation sessions and discussions on the future of banking and financial technology, water security and smart energy, startup ecosystem development, human capital challenges, and the establishment of a sustainable sea-air corridor.