Johannesburg, 02 Nov 2020
Innovation has always been a known component in the importance of business success. Whether innovation in technology, business model or operation, without the basic innovation component, it was very difficult to set up and operate a successful and global business. The economist Theodore Levitt described it well: “Creativity is thinking up new things and innovation is doing new things.”

Coronavirus has undoubtedly created a major economic and human crisis in the world, but at the same time, has given a significant boost to the need and implementation of new technologies that without a doubt would have taken many years to assimilate and put into use en masse.

It is clear that when an organisation succeeds in producing internal innovation, this is the best situation, but most of the time companies are busy with day-to-day business matters and do not have the appropriate resources and attention to develop innovation in-house. To make innovation more accessible, there are a number of centres in the world where there is a very high concentration of innovation and a functioning ecosystem that makes it easier for companies and organisations to find innovation and give them a snapshot of the new technologies in the market and what can be applied in their domains. One of these centres is Israel – a small country of 9 million people but with over 6 000 active start-ups, over 350 research and development centres of global companies, third place in the number of companies traded on NASDAQ and many more innovative indicators that present Israel’s uniqueness in innovation to almost all industries and services.

Even President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, praised Israeli technology at his address to the women in business leaders; he labelled Israel technology as a “model for his own country to follow and leading by leaps and bounds”.

Okay, so there is innovation in Israel. How can this be translated into economic value for the benefit of South African companies? This is exactly why Israel Trade Mission in South Africa helps local companies in the country to find suitable technologies. The Trade Mission is part of the Israeli economic trade system in the world on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, and its purpose is to create exposure and familiarity with technologies that come from Israel and are relevant to South African companies and vice versa.

The advantage of working with Trade Missions is that, first, it saves a lot of time and resources of locating the technologies by a professional who knows how to adjust the level of technology and needs to the required level in the local company and knows how to reach every relevant factor in the selected companies in Israel for facilitating an intro session (from start-ups and R&D centres to established companies and government officials); and, secondly, because the services are free and funded by the Ministry. Without recondite commissions or levies, the local company can get as clear and reliable a picture as possible of the technological maturity that exists in the market and not according to a particular portfolio of companies or hidden motive.

The Trade Mission’s objectives are to assist companies with knowledge, connections and outreach in the SA and Israel markets and help with performing technology scouting researchers and facilitating B2B sessions between Israeli and South African companies.

As an example for these services, a large IT data company from South Africa approached the Israel Trade Mission to assist in a scouting process. The process started with a dedicated team member managing the ICT sector calling the IT company to understand the needs of the customer to find innovative solutions in the Israel market. Thorough research has been conducted with all relevant partners in Israel in order to create a catalogue of potential companies from the Israeli market that would fit the requirements of the IT company both with technological complexity and price sensitivity. Then it was sent to the IT company, so the company was able to choose the potential innovative technology that can support their needs in the industry. The Trade Mission facilitated the B2B introductions of two companies that were chosen by the IT company and, after a while, the two companies signed a service partnership agreement. As of today, this service is one of the main revenue channels of the IT company and, since then, the Trade Mission has continued to support the company with additional scouting projects.

Below is a diagram of the typical B2B scouting process

The Israeli Trade Mission’s team will be glad to be in touch with any company in SA for additional requests regarding scouting projects or other initiatives.