By @SimonCocking. A conversation with Brian Breslin from the IDA about the recent Irish Trade Delegation visit to Israel and his impressions of Tel Aviv, and the possible similarities and opportunities between the two countries.

How was the trip for you?

Visiting Tel Aviv is always surprising. It is not the city the media/outside world would lead you to expect it to be. It is friendly, welcoming and culturally diverse. The economy is booming and the city is always vibrant and alive.

What do you feel Israel is doing well?

Blue sky research, supporting startup eco system, incentivising angel investors with various government backed schemes, exporting to the US, getting better at building product, created companies that will be acquired

What key insights did you gain from visiting?

Israeli companies tend to not ask if something is possible or impossible, just how long will it take to achieve. It is this mindset that has led to the development of numerous cutting edge tech solutions.

Anything else you’d like to add ? I should have asked you?

It would be good to probe the similarities between Tel Aviv and Dublin within the tech sector in particular.

Ok, what are your thoughts on this?

Just to touch on the piece about the similarities between the two countries:

Both countries are in a sense ‘islands’ in so far as they both rely on exports rather than the internal market and they both rely heavily on FDI. What is interesting is the amount of large tech companies that are present in both countries, Intel, Facebook, Google, Salesforce to name a few. It is worth looking at what these company do in each location and see if that can define the best working relationship between the two countries. I think what you will find is that Israel is great for the blue sky, conceptual research. When that needs to be then commercialised and brought to market it comes to Ireland.

Israel has build the only real silicon valley outside of the US, but many of the Israeli tech firms, and the book startup nation say that Dublin is then the next challenger to that title. I think the supports in place in Israel to promote angel investment are very interesting, but I’m not fully clear on all the details I’m afraid.

Another point of interest is that both cultures surprisingly align quite well. One thing that is said to me on almost every trip is that people feel we are very much like them and that our traditions and customs share a lot with them. There are areas here that Israel Ireland to improve thought. One thing that was clear from the diversity in tech event is that Ireland is seen as a leader in diversity and can set an example for other countries around the world.

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