The UAE Embassy in Israel, in partnership with not-for-profit organization Start-Up Nation Central and the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, hosted government and business leaders in Tel Aviv on Wednesday for the first bi-national business conference between the countries.
The UAE-Israel Business Forum was initiated by UAE Ambassador to Israel H.E. Mohamed Al Khaja in partnership with Start-Up Nation Central, CEO Avi Hasson to foster deeper connections between the countries in commerce, trade, hi-tech and innovation. Ambassador Al Khaja views these as cornerstones for a strong bi-lateral relationship. The conference highlighted both countries’ commitment to innovation as a way of promoting business-to-business ties and creating a joint regional hub for entrepreneurship.
The conference’s main topics were:
- The role of multinational corporations as drivers of technological innovation.
- Ways to create an innovative ecosystem that can benefit the region.
- Opportunities for business growth.
- The role of collaboration in achieving mutually beneficial commercial success.
Roughly 200 people representing the elite of the UAE and Israeli government and business world attended the event. This marks the first state sponsored business delegation from the UAE. Wednesday’s event was the first time since the signing of the Abraham Accords that the leaders of both countries met in Israel under one roof in a setting organized by the two nations’ governments.
Following the event, UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi and Minister of State for Foreign Trade, H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi visited Start-Up Nation Central Headquarters for a meeting with entrepreneurs from leading Israeli tech companies and startups.
On Thursday, the Emirati conference attendees will be holding a series of roundtable and one-on-one meetings with their Israeli counterparts.
UAE Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Mohamed Al Khaja: “As people of the region, in order to advance our own societies and our economies, it is imperative for all actors in this room, and our counterparts to find ways to ‘lean- in’ to this relationship and work together to open doors and correctly navigate and fuse together the respective strengths of our societies and economies. We are proud and excited to host Israeli start-ups, corporations and joint ventures aiming to capitalize on the language, cultural and global connections of the dynamic Emirati marketplace, and to allow you to tap into the diverse talent pool and global business acumen of the UAE.”
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi: “It is truly remarkable how only a year after the Abraham Accords, we have already established strong relationships in the form of business and commercial agreements. This is more than simply a foundation to build on. It is a solid partnership of real significance, not just for our nations, but for the region and the world as a whole.”
UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi: “Everywhere I look I see alignments, both in our strengths and our challenges, when it comes to small and medium businesses, startups, and tourism. There are a lot of ways that we can work together and enable our respective businesses to expand from the UAE to Israel and the other way around.”
Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry, Orna Barbivai: “The Ministry of Economics and Industry will continue to promote the shared interests of Israel and the UAE. The delegation’s arrival enables us to expose the visiting Emirati industry and business leaders to Israel’s wealth of innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and research. This conference signifies the establishment of economic ties between the two nations and Israel will continue to strengthen the business connections and partnerships with the Emiratis, recognizing their potential for aiding economic growth.”
Start-Up Nation Central CEO Avi Hasson: “We are extremely delighted to partner in this event that was unparalleled both in the caliber of its participants and its potential impact on the region. As an organization that puts a great deal of emphasis on the role of innovation diplomacy, we couldn’t be more pleased by the spirit of innovation and collaboration at the event. We look forward to carrying on the strong relationship with our partner Ambassador H.E. Al Khaja and other government and business partners in the UAE, and to developing the innovation ecosystems of both countries to achieve joint economic growth.”
Participants of the event included senior government officials, managing partners of equity investment funds, and board members and C-level executives from both countries’ leading corporations. Among the speakers were: UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi; UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi; Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Yoel Razvozov; Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Economy, Dr. Ron Malka; GM of Dubai, Investments Industries, H.E. Muhammad Saeed Al Raqbani; Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development, H.E. Rashed Al Balooshi; Chairperson of the Strauss Group, Ofra Strauss; Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Israel, Yifat Oron; Founder and GM of ENEL Israel, Eran Levy; Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at Israel’s Ministry of Economy, Ohad Cohen; EVP DP World, H.E. Mohammed Al Muallem; Head of the Digital Cluster at Abu Dhabi Ports, Dr. Noura Aldhaheri; VP international division, Israel Innovation Authority Nili Shalev; Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Ohad Cohen; Start-Up Nation Central Executive Director Wendy Singer, and the author of “Chutzpah” and founder of Synthesis, Inbal Arieli.