In terms of innovation in business and entrepreneurship, there are few countries globally that have had the success that Israel has had, with the highest number of start-ups per capita in the world, and large amounts of venture capital investments in the country. Investments in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) are extremely high, and Israel exports tens of millions of dollars worth of defence technology every year. The country is, in many ways, a paradise for technology start-ups rivalled only by Silicon Valley in California. This, according to New South Wales CEO of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) Charles Nightingale, is why the Australian business community needs to be looking to Israel for inspiration.
“Israel is a country that punches well above its weight in terms of academic excellence, innovation, and the venture capital that exists in the country,” Charles says. “Innovation in Israel is second nature to people, so the link between Australia and Israel to promote innovation is key. Leadership comes from the people, and the events we put on throughout the year are focused on bringing topical discussion into the marketplace, so that we can provide a conduit to inspirational leadership, and thought leadership around what it is that Australia needs to grow for the future.”
The AICC aims to connect members of the Australian business community with each other and with their Israeli counterparts to encourage innovation and leadership. The biggest names in business, politics, and academia are members of the chamber or have spoken at its events, which allow members to connect and get advice from names such as Joe Hockey and Alan Joyce. “We connect industry, academia and government, and I think that’s what puts us apart as an organisation. We are a place where you can learn, become inspired and meet the right people in the room, which is what we’re known for. People like Malcolm Turnbull, Paul O’Sullivan, Catherine Livingstone, and David Gonski are just some of the types of high achievers that engage with our audience’s business leaders and young people, in the discussions that these topics bring to their organisations. We like to see ourselves as setting the agenda, and thinking forward, bringing the type of business discussion that needs to happen now for Australia moving forward.”