Open for Innovation Mittelstands meets Israel

On 20 August 2020, the online event "Open for Innovation - Mittelstand meets Israel" took place. Almost 70 participants joined the online event and gained insights into the Israeli ecosystem. The event introduced to the participants important Israeli partners for German businesses. In addition, two companies from OWL and NRW reported on their experiences with Israel and gave valuable tips for involvement on site


Start date 20.08.2020 - 15:00
End date 20.08.2020 - 17:00

Key Results of the Event  

After a welcome and introduction by the scientific project director of Open Innovation City, Prof. Dr. Ingo Ballschmieter, Dr. Gil Yaron, head of the office of North Rhine-Westphalia in Tel Aviv, was the first to take the floor. He particularly addressed the question "Why Israel?" and, in addition to the economic factors, presented the open and friendly culture of Israelis. "Within the framework of the Israeli ecosystem, the whole personality of local people contributes significantly to this innovative location". He also explained his work for the State of NRW in Israel to the participants, where he is active as a "door opener" for companies from NRW: "It is important to break down the strong inhibitions that currently still exist and to build up a network, so that the road to Israel becomes easier for companies," he said.  

Charme Rykower, Senior Executive of the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Israel, was the second speaker to present the opportunities and support services offered by her institution to companies on site. "Our task is to advise and support North Rhine-Westphalian companies in their local business projects and to promote NRW as a business location. In particular, the delegation visits to Israel, which are carried out several times a year under this agreement, are a very suitable and efficient means of establishing technology partnerships and opening up markets," she reported. In addition to the mindset that characterises Israel, she pointed out the 15 current tech trends for 2020 and promoted networking in these technologies, for example in the fields of agritech, energy or cybersecurity. 

In the following interview Wolfgang Straßer, Managing Director of @-yet GmbH, was able to show what successful cooperation between a German company and Israel with the help of the Chamber of Commerce Aborad could look like: "We ventured into Israel almost four years ago and are thrilled. Not only the help of the Chamber of Commerce Abroad was an important factor in this, but also the mentality and openness of the Israelis mentioned above, has contributed significantly to the success of this path for us till today.” As a next step after Corona, he plans to directly employ an bridgehead in Israel to simplify the communication channels and control measures - because he sees a good perspective for this in Israel as in hardly any other country. 

In the last item of the online event, Henning Duderstadt, Head of the Innovation Office, interviewed a company representative from OWL: Marcus Böker, Managing Director of Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures GmbH, was last in Israel shortly before the start of the Corona pandemic. He shared the enthusiasm for the country and the people like his previous speakers. "Of course, Israel is a huge market for our company, especially in the areas of Industry 4.0 or cybersecurity. We have already had contact with the country in many places in the run-up to the event, for example as competing technology for our existing start-ups," he said. Just under a year ago, his company began with a concrete analysis of the Israeli market and has recently successfully made an investment on site - an important step that was also able to find its starting point through the Hinterland of Things in Bielefeld. 

After these two interviews and at the end of the event, Henning Duderstadt summed up that it was above all the proactivity of both companies that was special and thanked all speakers as well as the participants for the "lively and exciting event". 

"We as organizers are delighted that out of 87 registered participants, 70 people attended and showed us that OWL needs formats like this -not only with their questions to the speakers but also with their feedback during and after the event. Now, of course, we hope that this event will lead to one or the other networking of companies from our region to Israel," said Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Ingo Ballschmieter after the event. 

Agenda of the Event  

  • 15.00: "Open Innovation City and the Innovation Partnership with Israel" - Prof. Dr. Ingo Ballschmieter, Scientific Director Open Innovation City 
  • 15:15: "The Office of the State of NRW in Tel Aviv - Points of Contact for Technology and Innovation" - Dr. Gil Yaron, Head of the Office for Economy, Science, Education, Youth and Culture of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Tel Aviv 
  • 15:45: "Scouting in Israel's Innovation Ecosystem with the Chamber of Commerce Abroad" - Charme Rykower, Senior Executive Chamber of Commerce Abroad Israel 
  • 16:15: Interview with Henning Duderstadt, Head of the Open Innovation Office: 
    "Experiences from Four Years of Successful Cooperation in Israel" - Wolfgang Straßer, @-yet Industrial IT Security GmbH 
    "Strategic Scouting in Israel - an East Westphalian-Lippe Way" - Marcus Böker, Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures GmbH 
  • 17:00: End of the event 


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