Procurement · 5 December 2018

UK teams up with Israel to scale women-led AI and data startups

Innovate UK and the UK Science and Innovation Network Israel will host 15 successful applicants

The UK is teaming up with Israel to help boost women-led AI and data businesses.

The government said today that women-led SMEs specialising in AI and data can apply to be part of a global business innovation programme to help them get ideas closer to market, make connections and uncover opportunities in Israel.

It said Innovate UK and the UK Science and Innovation Network Israel will host 15 successful applicants on a week-long, fully-funded programme to the Middle Eastern country. On the trip they will “get advice before the visit to help them prepare as well as follow-on support to make the most of the opportunity”.

Israel is known worldwide for innovation in digital, AI and cyber technology, with the highest investment in research and development globally. Over 300 multinational corporations, including Facebook and Amazon, have R&D labs in the country.

The government hopes the move will in part help to address the gender innovation gap. A recent report from the Women’s Business Council revealed that from 2013 to 2018 the percentage of women in the UK engaging in early-stage entrepreneurial activity dropped from 5.8% to 5.3%. Research from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics has shown that similarly, Israeli women are underrepresented in high-tech fields.

“By supporting UK business women on a mission to Israel, this programme hopes to encourage diversity in innovation in both countries and help participants make their ideas a success,” the government said.

The Israel mission will include a 4-day innovation programme, during which delegates will visit local innovation hubs, AI labs and academic institutions, meet businesses to gain market knowledge, industry insights and build potential partnerships.

They will also be able to pitch to and network with investors in the region, attend networking events with local businesses, Israeli women innovators and policymakers and receive tailored one-to-one support from a specialist Enterprise Europe Network.

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