U.S. Water Industry Heads Network with Start-ups in Tel Aviv

Panel: McIntire, Jones, Tunnicliffe

Panel: McIntire, Jones, Tunnicliffe

“Israel has some of the largest and most innovative water projects in the world,” said Peter Tunnicliffe, Executive VP Global Market Development at CDM Smith. Tunnicliffe spoke as part of a delegation of over 40 heads of water solution companies, investors and government representatives who are in Israel this week, meeting with Israeli start-up companies and seeking out the next breakthrough technology and company in the water arena. Yesterday’s event was a networking session organized by CleanIsrael and sponsored by Autodesk and featuring speakers from multi-billion dollar revenue companies from the U.S. One of the themes that rose from the panel and from discussions that followed it, was the need to create an ecosystem to support innovation, and this is why a number of government representative from Massachusetts came on the delegation. Massachusetts, like Israel, has strong academic, industrial, and investment community resources in the water arena, but the challenge is to have this entire ecosystem work efficiently together to enable innovative technologies to be implemented.
Panel: McIntire, Jones, Tunnicliffe
We spoke with Karen Golmer, a water professional with 30 years of experience (having worked for GE, and today serving as Global Executive Director Water & Energy Solutions at Diversey). “I came here to learn how things are done in Israel, how the ecosystem here works effectively,” said Golmer. When asked what it is about Israel’s water industry that makes it stand out she said, “I think there is no fear of failure in Israel,” and this openness to risk-taking is a key success factor. Chris McIntire, SVP & President, Analytics at Xylem, told of how he founded a company which in time was bought by the ITT Corporation and became Xylem, and of what he looks for when scouting out the next technology breakthrough. Regular engineering services are being commoditized, and this, according to Pete Tunnicliffe, is why water companies like CDM Smith and Xylem are always looking for the next innovative idea. When asked about the barriers that technology companies face from municipalities on the way to implementation, Tunnicliffe noted that he thinks municipalities are loosening limitations a little. “Innovations are necessary to increase efficiency. At the end of the day this saves money, and that’s the main driver in the market today.” Also on the panel was Earl Jones, Member of Liberation Capital, which recently invested over $6 million in Desalitech, invested in a second Israeli company (which Jones did not name) and is about to close a third such investment. “The work ethic and team effort here is like nothing else on the planet,” said Jones. His recommendation to start-ups? Connect to solution providers like CDM Smith and Xylem, who can provide the valuable connection to clients.

Israeli sponsored “Entrepreneurship for Development” U.N. resolution passes

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The UN General Assembly has passed a resoution proposed by Israel to encourage private and public sector entrepreneurship as the best way to deal with the challenges of poverty and job creation. 129 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 31 countries voted against, and nine countries abstained, as reported by Globes and CNN. "The Israeli spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity prevailed at the UN today," said Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor. " As a state that was founded in difficult circumstances, we have been able to create opportunities for talented people and have become an enterprising superpower. Creating a culture of entrepreneurship can work miracles and drive economies forward. Investing in human resources is a real message that Israel conveys to the developing world." A review by Israel's Mission to the UN and Mashav found that young entrepreneurs in many developing countries face bureaucratic obstacles, social barriers, and a lack of financing, even though entrepreneurship is an important tool for economic growth, improving the standard of living, and improving the quality of the environment. This is the first time in the UN's history that it has adopted a resolution that emphasizes entrepreneurship as a means of fighting poverty, reported Globes. The resolution calls on governments and companies to strengthen the capabilities of domestic financial institutions to aid people who have no access to banking services, and encourages these countries to adopt administrative and regulatory structures to establish to provision of financial services to such people, especially women. CNN reported on one shining example of domestic initiative:  Albina Ruiz, the founder of Lima-based Ciudad Saludable, is a poster child for the economic benefits of entrepreneurship that creates immense social value. She built a community-based waste management system that plays an increasingly important role in improving sanitation and health conditions in Peru and other Latin American countries. Started just 10 years ago, Ciudad Saludable now serves more than 3 million residents in the slums of Lima alone. CNN credited Israel's delegation for engaging  fellow member countries in dialogue to encourage a global approach to promote entrepreneurship. The success of the resolution will provide a necessary pathway for stimulating future entrepreneurs and help equip world leaders to be better able to solve complex and fast-changing economic and social problems. For the full Globes article click here. For the full CNN article click here. For the statement by Ambassador Ron Prosor click here.  

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