Israel Invests in the Galilee as Hub for Food of the Future

Over 60 food companies and dozens of startups participated Tuesday in an inaugural event for a foodtech innovation community in Kiryat Shmona, where Erel Margalit, founder, and chairman of the venture capital firm JVP, announced the accelerator.

At the event, Economy Minister Eli Cohen said the state would allocate NIS 110 million ($30 million) in the coming year for foodtech ventures in the Upper Galilee and in Kiryat Shmona, Israel’s northernmost city.

Israel, known as Startup Nation, sees most of its tech bustle in Tel Aviv, the nation’s business capital, and in other cities in central Israel like Herzliya and the up-and-coming Jerusalem and Ra’anana. Nachum Itzkovitz, the director of the Investment and Industrial Cooperation Authority at the Economy Ministry, said at the event on Tuesday that foodtech companies setting up in the north of Israel will be eligible for a subsidy of up to 35% of salaries of up to NIS 30,000 a month.

Large companies moving to the Galilee will be eligible for a decreased corporate tax of 6% instead of the current 23%; free land; a grant of up to 30% of their investment in building and equipment; a 90% subsidy for their development costs; and subsidies of 60% for implementing R&D processes.

Overall, he said, more than NIS 400 million has been allocated by the government for foodtech incentives for companies moving to the Galilee, he said, adding that he’d like to see the Galilee attracting multinationals just as the southern city of  Beersheba has become a hub for cybersecurity startups and multinational corporations.

The accelerator set up by JVP in Kiryat Shmona will collaborate with the Economy Ministry and an NGO set up by graduates of the elite 8200 IDF technology unit. The six business ventures selected for the accelerator program will receive business, legal, marketing, and fundraising mentorship.

Among the attendees at the event, which was backed by Margalit, the Economy Ministry, and the region’s mayors and aimed to showcase the benefits of the Galilee, were food giants Tnuva, Osem, Uniliver, and Nestle.

The mayor of Kiryat Shmona, Nissim Malka, said he said he believed that the food companies and entrepreneurs coming to his city as part of the government’s resolution to boost the region were “creating a historic turn for the city and for the Israeli economy.”

JVP’s Margalit said the idea was to connect all different players in the field from academia to entrepreneurs to multinational corporations in order to transform “Israel and the region into an agrifood tech epicenter.”


source: Times of Israel


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