The brief is ambitious, “Scaling up Jerusalem’s ecosystem to create Europe’s first Google”, but when European Parliamentarians, EU Institution policy heads and Jerusalem’s brightest and best high-tech entrepreneurs and venture partners got together in the European Parliament, the message was clear, “no politics, let’s just get it done together!”
The conference was organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA), Europe Israel Public Affairs, the European Jewish Community Centre and the European Coalition for Israel in cooperation with the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Israeli Ministry of Jerusalem and heritage and hosted by Romanian Socialist MEP Andi Cristea and Liberal Lithuanian MEP Petras Austrevicius.
Israel and the EU already co-operate within the framework agreement, but there are plans to expand that cooperation, a message that was shared with the conference. “If you fund the scaling up, we will double it”, said Jerusalem Development Authority CEO Eyal Haimovski on the opening panel.
The conference itself focused on the technicalities of setting up a tech-friendly business ecosystem, and the ingredients needed for it to flourish, over a busy three panels, the busy Committee Room humming with guests, heard about incentivizing on the part of policy makers to encourage and stimulate action and innovation, the role of venture capital and creating a business angel network, embracing failures as part of success, and lastly but my no means least establishing and nurturing innovative grass roots communities.
Speaking at the event, MEP Andi Cristea underlined:
“Jerusalem’s ecosystem is a unique asset and an incredible success story. I am glad our friends from the city have accepted our invitation and will share their experience here, within the premises of the European Parliament, amongst friends and to the benefit of our friendship, our people and our common future.”
‘It’s time for the politicians to do something they don’t like doing: shut up and let the experts take the lead on this issue,” MEP Petras Austrivicius added, and made a strong pitch for Vilnius as a tech hub, saying it had long been known as the ‘Jerusalem of the North’.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the founder of the European Jewish Association and Europe Israel Public Affairs who organised and managed the event in Brussels said,
“There is a clear appetite to co-operate and develop the EU-Israel innovation partnership further, and in particular foster ties going forward with Jerusalem, to learn and, we hope replicate the cities great and ongoing successes.
In talking to many of the participants, from the EU and from Israel, the message is clear, No politics, let’s just get this done. Today’s conference was a solid and inspiring start to that process where networks were made, inspiration given and potential business very much in the offing.”