Historically first bilateral Slovak-Israeli program is focused on industrial research and experimental development
Of those projects who answered the first call, four Slovak-Israeli projects are now in the final selection phase where more than € 1 million could be awarded. Results should be known at the end of February 2017.
The objective of the cooperation agreement in the area of industrial research and experimental development is for the partners of the two countries to find synergies, focus on mutual strengths and create a feasible innovation. „We can see the potential in high-tech products, automotive instrustry, biomedicine and water management. For instance the Slovak Republic is very strong in the automotive while Israel has been developing a system for autonomous vehicles. If this combines we could come up with interesting results,” said Z. A. Vapni, the Israeli ambassador to Slovakia. The call to submit subsidy proposals has been announced by the Slovak Ministry of Economy in August 2016.
The amount of resources for the first call is EUR 949,500. Individual projects may be elibigle for support from EUR 50,000 up to EUR 235,000. In the category of industrial research the subsidy may cover 50 percent of costs, in experimental development it could be 25 percent. The amount of state subsidy may however amount to as much as 80 percent when it comes to small to mid-size enterprises.
The State of Israel has signed similar agreements with multiple countries in Asia, America and Europe, including all V4 countries. “We have been cooperating for several years already with some of these countries, having achieved significant results. It usually takes some time for a program to catch up in a new country and to start achieving results. When it does happen however we usually see some top-notch projects and innovations,” stated Zvi Aviner Vapni.
Israeli businesses were impressed by the strong potential of Slovakia in the area of start-ups and innovations. “Israeli Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak republic has been trying to achieve a cooperation agreement in the area of industrial research between our countries for some time, and we finally achieved to get it done in 2013. The entire process took six years. The agreement led to the state subsidy scheme through which we would now like to support the most interesting projects,” stated Mr. Miloš Žiak.
“The first call was met with great response, the very first seminar was attended by more than forty entities,” confirms Ms. Svetlana Gavorová, Director General of Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA), the organization responsible for implementing the program. For Slovak companies this is the ideal way to approach new business opportunities, and for Israeli companies this may be the way how to get on the European market. More calls should be announced in 2017 and 2018, and Slovakia is planning to allocate EUR 2 million and EUR 3 million respectively.
The program of bilateral cooperation between Slovakia and Israel is in full swing. It has been a lengthy process that included cooperation between governments, then among entrepreneurs, and finally it was necessary to agree how the program would be financed. Specific information about cooperation would be available after evaluating the first batch of projects. “The first set of four projects that may come to life based on this cooperation do not mean an immediate breakthrough but it will be a game-changer that will generate new ideas,” added the Slovak Ambassador to Israel Mr. Peter Hulényi.