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Israel aims to boost Arab representation in tech sector

Thew new program is also offering grants for human capital development programs focused on promoting women in the high-tech industry.

People check out the booths at Cybertech Global TLV 2023. Photo by Judith Segaloff.
People check out the booths at Cybertech Global TLV 2023. Photo by Judith Segaloff.

The Israel Innovation Authority announced on Tuesday new grants for innovative programs to train entrepreneurs in research and medical institutions with at least 50% representation from the country’s Arab community.

The grants of up to 70% of total program funding are being offered as part of a new initiative launched under the Human Capital for High-Tech Fund.

The IIA is also inviting organizations to submit grant applications for human capital development programs focused on promoting women in the high-tech industry.

“The Israeli innovative ecosystem thrives on the creative power of Israeli entrepreneurs. The decline in the number of startups established in recent years obligates us to expand exposure to technological entrepreneurship opportunities for a wider range of populations,” said Dror Ben, CEO of the IIA.

“Research and medical institutions with their diverse human capital, particularly from the Arab community, serve as a fertile ground for innovative and profound solutions to the world’s major challenges. The
exposure to entrepreneurial opportunities can serve as a driving force for economic growth and social impact,” he added.

Meir Bing, director general of Israel’s Ministry for Social Equality, said: “It is already evident that the integration of the Arab community into the Israeli job market is a significant interest not only for the Arab community but for the entire Israeli economy, with a decisive impact on
productivity, production, and growth.

In this context, he continued, “We must emphasize the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship and high-tech, which serve as growth engines for the economy.”

Bing noted that only 2% of Israeli entrepreneurs come from the Arab community and emphasized the need to narrow the gap.

The goals of the training programs include developing potential human capital from various disciplines for the establishment of startups, encouraging candidates to choose entrepreneurship as a viable career path, expanding the leadership in the ideation and startup phases and investing in technological ideas/projects with entrepreneurial potential.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chaired a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Arab Sector Affairs.

The committee decided to advance the fight against crime in Israeli Arab communities, resolve the problem of mortgages for housing in the Arab sector, promote the study of Hebrew among the Arab population, and approve budgets for economic projects in employment areas.

Netanyahu directed various ministries to submit draft proposals on these issues within 45 days.

“We are seeking to reduce the gaps and fully integrate the Arab sector in Israel. We discussed the issues of credit, education, Hebrew, social welfare, legislation and many other matters,” said Netanyahu.

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