Seeking innovation, Defense Ministry launches start-up hub – Hi tech news


Seeking innovation, Defense Ministry launches start-up hub

An exhibitor shows the operating suite of an Israeli armoured vehicle during a display of future systems at Elyakim Military Base in northern Israel.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

The Defense Ministry announced the establishment of a new innovation hub for start-ups on Monday, aiming to promote the development and implementation of innovative security-related technologies.

The hub, unveiled by the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Directorate and chief economist, will seek to strengthen the relationship between Israel’s civilian and defense markets by enabling the ministry and the IDF to adapt civilian technologies for security needs.

The initiative will be operated by iHLS and SOSA, two Tel Aviv-headquartered companies operating business development platforms for homeland security start-ups.

In the first round of the program, selected start-ups will be recruited for six months, with each venture receiving a grant worth NIS 200,000 (approx. $57,400) and business support offered by the innovation center’s partners. The program is aimed at dual-use (civilian and security) ventures, enabling start-ups to expand into additional, non-security markets in the future.

“INNOFENSE, the new innovation center of the Research and Development Directorate and the Ministry of Defense, will be the professional and technological home for every dual-use idea or innovation in the competitive civilian market,” said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Daniel Gold, the head of the Research and Development Directorate.

“A professional supervision team, alongside a generous financial grant, will assist any start-up venture that chooses to break down barriers as far and wide as possible. The fruits of the venture will benefit the various security bodies, alongside civilian economic and business success.

“The Research and Development Directorate sees this unique venture as a cornerstone in successfully realizing its national responsibility ‘to turn a vision into security.'”

The Defense Ministry will be authorized to test the technologies for its purposes, but will not enter selected companies as a shareholder or demand intellectual property rights.

“Civil technology today enables many things to be done that it was previously unable to, and requires security organizations to adopt an open innovation policy so as not to be left behind,” said Duddy Rokach, managing partner at SOSA’s HLS Tech Innovation Hub.

Participation in the innovation hub will not limit entrepreneurs in their business activities, the ministry said, either in Israel or abroad.

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