Israel’s lesson: The future belongs to those who innovate
Zagreb, 12 March 2019, in the joint organization of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian-Israeli Business Club and the Embassy of the State of Israel in Croatia, a lecture was held by the newly appointed Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor, who pointed out that the Israeli economy is one of the most propulsive in the world, so Croatian entrepreneurs, as well as the state, can learn a lot from their example.
Big investments in education, research and development, start-up culture, developing and introducing new technologies are all factors that put Israel at the top of the world. That is why we need to promote stronger co-operation between our countries, because our potential for trade co-operation is much greater than the current figures show, said the president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Luka Burilovic.
“Our goal is to export as many Croatian companies to Israel as possible, not only for the direct benefits to our economy, but also for the invaluable experience that the best-performing business brings. Israelis appreciate the quality and are ready to pay for it adequately, and it is up to us to offer it to them. On the other hand, our desire is to become more attractive to Israeli investors, which Croatia can serve as a base for stronger expansion into the EU market“, Burilovic said, adding that despite the plus in the trade balance with Israel of around EUR 4 million, we could not be satisfied its volume of 60 million euros.
He also said he sees great potential for improving economic relations in the agro-food industry, IT sector, energy, tourism and health tourism. He particularly emphasized the importance of developing cooperation in the field of education and R&D, without which no economy can be globally competitive.
Dragan Primorac, founder and honorary president of the Croatian-Israeli Business Club, said that Israel has been living innovation for many years, and that is the direction Croatia wants to go. “They are three times smaller than us, but their GDP is twice as high. They have seven times more irrigated areas, although Croatia has 90 times more water resources. They are the third country in the world by the number of patents registered in the world. We strive to intensify cooperation at all possible levels because we are strategic partners, “said Primorac.
“Israel is proof that investing in quality education is profitable and the only thing that is sustainable in the long term. Our co-operation must be better not only at the economic but also at the university level because the successes in the economy come from knowledge, “said Sasa Missoni, President of the Croatian-Israeli Business Club.
During his presentation, Mor spoke about the strategic concept of the State of Israel as a start-up nation, and spoke about trends in the development of the Israeli economy, educational, scientific and innovation policies, as well as existing and future cooperation between Israel and Croatia.
“The future belongs to those who innovate, it’s the only way to constantly add value to your products and be competitive in the global economy. We transform our people’s ideas with new technologies into commercial products, “Mor said, adding that they currently have over 6,600 start-ups.
He emphasized that the success and specialty of Israel is based on defense, research and development, a culture of knowledge, human potential and a geostrategic position.
“Defense and the military are otherwise a burden on the budget, but we have turned that to our advantage. We take our smartest young men into the military, where they learn how to operate sophisticated systems and return to civilian life ready for entrepreneurship. They know how to deal with pressure, they have a network of contacts that helps them in the future, they are responsible and goal-oriented, “said Mor, noting that military technologies are transferring over time to the civilian sector.
“The second factor is research, we have some of the best research institutions in the world, we spend about 5 percent of GDP on R&D and 8.1 GDP on education. The third thing is our particular culture that is focused on the pursuit of knowledge. This also translates into the economy, we do not accept the status quo and are always looking for new solutions. If we also fail, we move on or go from the beginning. The fourth item is our geo-strategic position, we are surrounded by hostile states, we have no water, we have no oil, our resources are very limited. That is why we have always relied on and invested in one resource that we are rich in – people. That investment has been bearing fruit for decades, and it will continue to do so in the future, “he elaborated.
“Vision, innovation, creative thinking and fostering entrepreneurship are the foundations of modern Israel and everyone who wants to reflect our success must rely on these postulates. It is also important that you are prepared to take risks and not be afraid of failure, “Mor concluded.
At the end of the lecture, Ambassador Mor made himself available and affirmative to all Croatian entrepreneurs present, in the belief that he would be very happy to invest his experience and efforts in building and real