Colombia Opens Trade and Innovation Office in Jerusalem to Boost High-Tech Entrepreneurship
The president of Colombia inaugurated his country’s first overseas trade and innovation office in Jerusalem on Tuesday, in a bid to position the South American nation as a hub for entrepreneurship and startups.
“Today we mark a milestone in the relations between Colombia and Israel. This step confirms that Israel is our key partner in innovation,” said President Iván Duque. “Colombia’s economy will grow by 8.5 percent in 2021, the highest growth rate of this century. Today, Colombia shows a different perspective of competitiveness, which includes the environment as one of its protagonists. Thus, we address new markets and new consumers, making our policy of producing while conserving and conserving while producing materialize in ‘sustechnability.’”
The iNNpulsa office in Jerusalem will promote investments and joint ventures, as well as business opportunities for the private and public sectors in Colombia and Israel. The focus will be on innovative technologies in cleantech, smart transportation, smart cities, and other technological sectors.
“Colombia is a true friend of Israel. Governments form alliances but people are the ones who build the bridges,” commented Orit Farkash-Hacohen, Israel’s minister of innovation, science, and technology. “The new iNNpulsa Colombia innovation office in Jerusalem will boost our strategic cooperation in the fields of science and technology. In the world of high tech, sharing resources, knowledge and data is the key to leadership. I am certain that Colombia’s official entry into the flourishing Israeli innovation ecosystem will benefit both countries and their high-tech sectors.”
Israel entered into a free-trade agreement last year with Colombia, the third largest economy in Latin America. Both governments have shown interest in a strategic partnership for the advancement of innovation, applied science, and technology.
Israel’s Innovation Authority hosted the opening event, which was addressed by Farkash-Hacohen; Dr. Ami Applebaum, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority; Jonathan Peled, Israel’s deputy director general for Latin America; Francisco Noguera, president of iNNpulsa; and entrepreneurs from both countries. During the three-day visit to Israel, Duque was accompanied by Colombia’s ministers of defense, health, agriculture, trade, environmental protection, and transportation.
iNNpulsa also signed a memorandum of understanding with Israeli venture capital firm OurCrowd to create a tech innovation incubator, to be backed by the Colombian government. As part of the agreement, a fund will be established to funnel investments into OurCrowd portfolio companies. The deal is also intended to facilitate and promote exchanges between startups from both countries.