Quebec premier leads 100-man business delegation to Israel

The largest-ever business delegation to Israel arrived from the Canadian province of Quebec for the launch of a 5-year, $12M industrial R&D collaboration program.

Trumped by the hoopla surrounding US President Donald Trump’s visit, Philippe Couillard, the premier of Québec, led a 100-man delegation to Israel this week. The group – the largest-ever business delegation to visit Israel and the first official visit to the Jewish State by a sitting premier of Canada’s francophone province – included entrepreneurs in the aviation, transportation, IT and medical industries, as well as leaders of research institutes and universities.

Couillard and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) launched a $12-million bilateral program. Both jurisdictions have committed $3 million over five years to support Québec-Israel industrial R&D projects. This $6 million investment will be matched by participating research partners.

Québec’s Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation will administer the program on behalf of the province. This initiative supports industry-led collaboration, including partnerships between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large firms, and academic institutions, to support the joint development of innovative technologies.

“The Government of Québec welcomes the launch of the Québec-Israel Industrial R&D Program,” said the ministry’s Dominique Anglade. “In addition to supporting the development of innovative companies, this initiative will help foster fruitful and long-term alliances between companies and organizations involved in joint projects in Québec and Israel.”

Together, Québec and IIA have developed this customized bilateral program to address industry challenges through highly innovative collaboration.

Israel is a ‘Partner of Choice’

“International partnerships in R&D and innovation have become a must in the world today,” added Anglade. “For Québec companies and research teams, it means access to world-renowned expertise and new markets. Israel’s leadership in technology, research and innovation makes it a partner of choice to develop advanced technologies and state-of-the-art commercialization tools. Ultimately, this initiative will help reinforce the working relationship between our innovation agencies.”

Projects, which may include technology and knowledge applications, product customization, near commercialization or new market creation, are expected to contribute economically to both Québec and Israel and to take place primarily in the two jurisdictions.

“The agreement will enable Québec and Israel to strengthen their collaboration in the realms of industrial research and innovation. In this way, we can support visionary projects that will create synergy between Québec and Israel and promote expertise and innovative technologies on both sides. I am convinced that this agreement will pave the way for the establishment of profitable partnerships between Québec and Israeli researchers and businesses, for the benefit of our respective economies,” stated Aharon Aharon, CEO of the IIA.

The Authority is Israel’s central agency for managing the country’s governmental support for innovation resources. As the government’s operational arm in the arena of technological innovation and R&D, the goal of the IAA is to provide professional support and infrastructure for government efforts to encourage innovation in all industry sectors, complementing the major role that Israel already plays in the global high-tech sector.

Funding Awarded to Promising Companies

The IAA has three main roles: creating infrastructure to support diverse industries, developing tools and programs that suit the needs of the industry, and budgeting and financing high-risk projects and products. In addition to these roles, the Authority serves as a central hub for knowledge and consists of six customer-oriented “Innovation Divisions,” each providing a variety of tools for each market segment and stage in the life cycle of a product: Technological Infrastructure, Advanced Manufacturing, International Collaborations, Societal Challenges, Growth and Early Stages.

Israeli and Québec-based companies are asked to present cooperative proposals, which will be vetted for feasibility. Funding will be awarded to those companies demonstrating promising partnerships and near-term potential for commercialization, as well as economic benefit in both jurisdictions.

Teams must submit a two-step application, including a bilateral cooperation form that describes the project and the collaboration envisioned between the Québec company and the Israeli company. Applications open on June 1. The applications will be independently evaluated and scored by the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation du Québec and the Israel Innovation Authority, which then jointly agree which applications will be funded.

Québec is Canada’s second most populous province, with a population of 8.18 million. Some 100,000 Jews live there, primarily in the province’s business capital, Montreal. The Jewish community, which is largely bilingual, contains encompasses large numbers of immigrant Jews from Morocco, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as Ashkenazi Jews.

By: Gil Zohar, World Israel News