Sweden and Israel have embarked upon a first-of-its-kind initiative to boost joint research and development projects that hopes to combine Sweden’s strength in high-tech and manufacturing sectors with Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit and research strengths.
The initiative, announced on Tuesday, will be called The Connector.
“The Connector is a long-term effort to bring two highly creative but also different and complementary innovative ecosystems closer,” the parties said in a statement. “Both countries face common challenges in the need to constantly innovate in order to drive economic growth and compete globally.”
Start-up Nation Central, an Israeli nonprofit, has partnered with Sweden’s Innovation Agency Vinnova, Business Sweden – the Swedish Trade and Invest Council and the Swedish Embassy in Israel.
Sweden was recently ranked number two in patents per capita and Israel number five.
“Innovation has never been more important as key to address global challenges,” said Ibrahim Baylan, Swedish minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, in a statement. “Israel and Sweden represent the strongest startup hubs in our respective regions and can offer competitive solutions in the global markets. Solutions that are sorely needed in a world that will face the economic comeback after combating the pandemic and saving human lives.”
Companies such as Skype, Spotify, Minecraft, and Candy Crush came out of Sweden. Whereas Israeli start-ups have created instant messaging, the thumb drive, WAZE and many other popular apps.
“We know this collaboration will yield synergetic benefits for both the Swedish and Israeli partners and we call upon Israeli entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to come and join us,” said Professor Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central.
Sweden set up a similar program with Switzerland that resulted in 39 publicly funded projects worth 64 million euros in the past six years.