TEL AVIV, Israel – Gov. Jay Nixon today signed Missouri’s first-ever business co-investment agreement with Israel, a recognized international leader in advanced technology entrepreneurship. The Governor and Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy and Industry in Israel, signed the agreement for the Missouri Technology Corporation(MTC) to work directly with the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) to advance opportunities for new technology projects to expand the technology economies and create jobs in both Missouri and Israel.
“Missouri has now established itself as a leading high-tech, innovation and startup center on a global scale,” Gov. Nixon said. “Israel is an established international leader in technology entrepreneurship. By teaming up our intellectual capital, entrepreneurial drive and co-investing, we have the opportunity to expand our cutting edge technology sectors and create top-level skilled jobs in both Missouri and Israel.”
“Establishing the Israel-Missouri partnership is a significant step for building a platform for innovation advancement through R&D collaborations,” said Mr. Hasson, who is also the Chairman of the National Technological Innovation Authority. “The strong ties will benefit the economies of both Israel and Missouri and will strengthen the innovation links between the two industries. I am certain that such partnership with Missouri will yield great success stories among Israeli and U.S. companies.”
The agreement signed today establishes a framework to focus on joint research projects by Missouri and Israeli for-profit companies in the areas of aerospace/defense, cybersecurity, biotechnology and agricultural technologies to commercialize technologies and spur development and investment.
Once implemented, the deal would pair technology companies from Missouri and Israel within the four designated sectors. MTC and IIA would jointly fund the paired companies. Discussions on the agreement began in March, when Gov. Nixon led a Missouri trade mission to Israel.
Over the last two years, four Israeli agritech/technology companies announced plans to expand into the St. Louis area. St. Louis is home to both the CORTEX Innovation Community and theBio Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center.
Cortex is 200-acre innovation hub and technology district that has generated 4,200 technology-related jobs at 250 companies in St. Louis’ Central West End and Forest Park Southeast neighborhoods.
The Bio Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center offers leading bio research facilities with world-class labs, office space and on-site workforce training for emerging scientific enterprises.
In December 2015, Missouri opened a foreign trade office in Tel Aviv, which has already made over 260 business development contacts in Israel.
The Israel Innovation Authority, which is under the Israel Ministry of the Economy and Industry, works to develop Israel’s high-tech business sector. MTC is a public-private partnership focused on the growth of emerging high-tech companies. Since 2011, the Missouri Technology Corporation has co-invested in almost 100 companies, which in turn have been able to raise more than $300 million in additional capital and grow their businesses and expand job creation.
Also in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Gov. Nixon met with high-ranking representatives of ICLPerformance Products, a St. Louis producer of phosphates used in an array of industries that employs 500 in St. Louis and is a subsidiary of Israel Chemical Limited. The Governor also met with high-ranking representatives of SecBI, and Cyber Observer, two Israeli cybersecurity firms that have been selected to participate in the St. Louis-based SixThirty CYBERaccelerator.
In September, the respected analytical website FiveThirtyEight reported three Missouri metro areas – St. Louis, Springfield and St. Joseph – are in the top five nationwide for having the fastest rates of business startup growth. Kansas City was ranked 12th nationally. The report, based on an analysis of U.S. Census data, followed on the heels of a Brookings Institution August report that named Missouri the sixth best state in the nation for annual advanced manufacturing job growth, and the eighth best for output growth.