From Start-Up Nation to Scale-Up Nation

Although only a small country, Israel has one of the highest concentrations of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world, and a remarkable success rate in commercialising this innovation –turning the bright ideas from research and academia into marketable and profitable business products. High-tech is an engine of growth; creating high-paying jobs; is heavily export-oriented; and capitalises on a highly skilled workforce.

Israel is home to over 530 multinational R&D centres, many of them Fortune 500 companies, illustrating Israel’s profound and disproportionate impact on the advancement of global innovation. Global companies include Apple, Dell, GE, General Motors, Google, IBM, Intel, Loreal, Meta, Microsoft, Nestle, PayPal, PepsiCo, Philips, Samsung, SAP, Unilever and many others.

Previously Israel was known for the highest number of start-ups per capita in the world. Today Israel also has more unicorns per capita (companies valued at over USD1 billion than any other country) than any other country. Some of these include: Gett, Payoneer, Taboola and WalkMe,

  • Israel is ranked 4th in the # of companies listed on the NASDAQ, with a combined market cap of more than USD$150 billion, more than any country besides the United States, Canada and China.
  • Israel has the highest national expenditure on civilian R&D as a percentage of GDP globally. 15% of GDP derives from the high-tech industry.
  • Israel is ranked 3rd in the 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking (after US and UK). Tel Aviv is ranked 5th in the Cities Ranking.
  • Israel is also a leading destination for global venture capital investment. Israel has 3,602 private companies backed by private equity or venture capital, the highest number across the Middle East and Africa, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

Australia – Israel Relations

Relations between Australia and Israel predate the establishment of the state. During World War One, hundreds of young Australians played a crucial role in the Allied forces’ campaign in the Middle East, liberating Palestine from the Ottoman Empire. Memorials in Jerusalem and military cemeteries commemorate the sacrifices of these men, particularly the legendary Light Horse Brigade – which fought in the crucial battles for Gaza and Beer Sheva.

Australia was the first country to vote in favour of the 1947 United Nations partition resolution that resulted in the foundation of Israel as a nation-state. It established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1949, and the relationship has flourished, enjoying the firm support of Australia’s 100,000+ Jewish community.

Australia – Israel Trade Relations

Australia’s bilateral economic relationship with Israel continues to grow.  In 2022, total trade between Israel and Australia stood at USD1.09 billion, out of which 74% is Israeli exports to Australia (USD802 million) and 26% is Israeli imports from Australia (USD284 million). Total trade figures grew by 12% from 2021.

Israel is Australia’s 46th largest two-way trading partner and 54th largest export market.

There are almost 20 Israeli companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), making Israel the third largest source of foreign company listings.

There are many more Israeli companies operating in Australia.

To see a list of Israeli businesses looking for Australian opportunities and partners

With thanks to the Israel Trade and Economic Commission. 

Israeli Innovation News

Israel 21C A non-partisan, non-profit publisher of news and information about Israel, including innovation and technology breakthroughs.

NoCamels covers breakthrough Israeli innovation in tech, science, food, health, cybersecurity, clean energy, art and design – and more – for a global audience.

The Times of Israel A one-stop site for news, features, blogs, and more, on Israel, the ‘start-up nation’, and the region.

Calcalist CTech English language version of daily business newspaper and website Calcalist, focusing on technology news.

Globes The English version of the Israeli business daily “Globes”.

Books on Israeli Innovation 

Start-Up Nation

Start-Up Nation. The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion-dollar question: how is that Israel – a country of nine million people, almost 75 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, and with no natural resources – produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations? Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country’s adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality – all backed up by government policies focused on innovation.
Start-Up Nation

Chutzpah: Why Israel Is a Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Inbal Arieli

Tech insider Inbal Arieli goes against the common belief that Israel’s outstanding economic accomplishments are the byproduct of its technologically advanced military or the result of long-standing Jewish traditions of study and questioning. Rather, Arieli gives credit to the unique way Israelis are raised in a culture that supports creative thinking and risk taking. Growing up within a tribal-like community, Israelis experience childhoods purposely shaped by challenges and risks – in a culture that encourages and rewards chutzpah.

Start-Up Nation

Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World by Avi Jorisch

Thou Shalt Innovate profiles wondrous Israeli innovations that are collectively changing the lives of billions of people around the world and explores why Israeli innovators of all faiths feel compelled to make the world better. This is the story of how Israelis are helping to feed the hungry, cure the sick, protect the defenceless, and make the desert bloom.

Start-Up Nation

Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World by Seth M.Siegel

With hardly a day without a water crisis story somewhere, Let There Be Water offers prescriptions on how countries, cities, and businesses can avoid the worst of it. With 60 percent of the country in a desert and despite a rapidly growing population, Israel has been jumping ahead of the water innovation curve for decades and has created a high-export industry in water technology.

Start-Up Nation

My Promised Land by Avi Shavit

Journalist Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, to illuminate the pivotal moments of the Zionist century. In doing so, he also sheds new light on the problems and threats that Israel faces. As he examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive?
This work is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.

Start-Up Nation

No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel by Shimon Peres

In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the 20th century. Peres would go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries. He was central to the establishment of the IDF and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove —with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognised, honoured, and admired statesmen.

Start-Up Nation

The Genius of Israel by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

The Genius of Israel tells the story of a diverse people and society built around the values of service, solidarity, and belonging. Widely admired for having the world’s highest density of high-tech start-ups, Israel’s greatest innovation may not be a technology at all, but Israeli society itself. Understanding how a country facing so many challenges can be among the happiest provides surprising insights into how we can confront the crisis of community, human connectedness, and purpose in modern life. Bold, timely, and insightful, Senor and Singer’s latest work shines an important light on the impressive innovative distinctions of Israeli society—and what other communities and countries can learn.

100th anniversary of Lighthorse battle