Although only a small country by size and population, Israel has one of the highest concentrations of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world.

The high-tech sector is one of the most dynamic and competitive of the Israeli economy, an engine of growth which is heavily export-oriented and creates high-paying jobs. Israel is also a world leader in commercialisation – turning the bright ideas from research and academia into marketable and profitable products and services.

Israel’s high-tech sector is part of a wider entrepreneurial eco-system which enables and encourages innovation, spanning industry, academia, the military, government policy, and capital markets.

The Start-Up Nation

Israel has earned a reputation as an incubator of innovation, enterprise, and disruptive new business ideas, encapsulated in the moniker ‘Start-Up Nation’ (after this book of the same title). It is a brand of which the country is proud, and is borne out by the data. Israel ranked 3/137 countries in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 criteria for innovation, and consistently ranks highly in the annual Bloomberg Global Innovation Index, which ranks the most innovative and impressive countries in the global technology market according to contributing factors such as research and development spending and concentration of public high-tech companies.

Israel also has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any country besides the United States and China. There are 84 Israeli companies listed on the NASDAQ with a combined market capitalisation of approximately US$90 billion as of January 2018.

Israel is also a leading destination for global venture capital investment. Israeli high-tech companies raised US$5.24 billion in 620 venture capital deals in 2017, an increase of nine percent compared to the US$4.83 billion attracted in 2016 in 673 deals, according to the IVC Research Center-Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer 2017 Israeli High-Tech Capital Raising Survey.

Israel also remains a major destination for global venture capital funding. Over 300 large multinationals (including Apple, Coca-Cola, GE, Google, Intel, and Microsoft) have established research and development facilities in Israel, while many others have deployed ‘innovation scouts’ to find the next bright idea.

Business IQ from Israel

Saul Singer, author “Start Up Nation” – on the opportunities for Australia and Israel