Israel: The Start-Up Nation


Israel is an exciting, dynamic, pluralistic country. It is one of the world’s greatest innovation hubs with a diverse and dynamic economy. Canada and Israel have strong, multidimensional bilateral relations, marked by close political, economic, social and cultural ties. Every day, Israelis make a global contribution well beyond their country’s relative size. As of 2015, more than 5,000 start-ups have been launched in Israel.

  • Israel has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any other country in the world outside the U.S.
  • With $4 Billion of venture capital funding available to fund innovation, Israel is ranked #2 in the world, second only to the US. Per capita, Israel has attracted more than twice the VC funding than the US has and thirty times more than Europe.
  • Israel is the only country in the world to have simultaneous free trade agreements with Canada, the US, and Mexico; European Union and European Free Trade Association.
  • Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.
  • In May of 2010, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) unanimously voted to admit Israel as its 32nd member country. This decision was taken in light of Israel’s robust economic foundation – with the NY Times stating that Israel “has grown into a technological powerhouse with an annual per capita gross domestic product approaching $30,000, not far from Germany’s.”
  • TechinIsrael2A number of leading technology firms have established offices or research centres in Israel, including Google, Yahoo, Motorola, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Intel, AT&T, and Hewlett-Packard. In total, at least 250 US-based high-tech firms have set up R&D centres in Israel. Known as Silicon Wadi, Israel is now believed to have the highest concentration of tech firms in the world outside Silicon Valley.
  • Israel is one of the most highly educated countries in the world with the highest number of engineers, scientists and Ph.D’s per capita (135 per 10,000).
  • Israel is a world leader in medical and biomedical advances. Key Israeli breakthroughs include pin-sized radioactive implants (known as anti-cancer “cluster bombs”), an ingestible capsule that takes internal x-rays, and a new blood test that enables doctors to detect cancer in 90% of patients – in addition to various vaccine and pharmaceutical patents.
  • Israel is a global leader in environmental technologies, and has the world’s highest rate of waste water recycling at around 70%. Israel might be the only country in the world whose number of trees actually increased during the 20th Century.
  • The cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola-Israel. Motorola built its largest development center worldwide in Israel.
  • The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel by Intel.
  • In 2014, Canadian universities, represented by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, signed an agreement with the Association of University Heads of Israel to facilitate, promote and support research collaboration and exchanges of faculty and students between both countries.
  • Through collaborative initiatives such as the Canada-Israel Industrial Research Development Foundation, joint projects have brought Canadian and Israeli experts together for cutting-edge research in fields such as green technology, medicine, and agriculture – for the benefit of both countries.


  • In 2014, Canada and Israel announced the launch of negotiations to expand and modernize the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). Since 1997, under CIFTA, trade between the two countries has more than doubled to a total of $1.5 Billion, an amount which is set to grow significantly as a result of current negotiations.
  • In 2014, Ontario announced that it would open an office in Israel to promote deeper economic ties and increase the $800 Million annual two-way trade between the province and the Jewish State.
  • In 2007, Québec renewed and expanded the Québec-Israel Cooperation Agreement, which strengthens ties in the fields of culture, education, science and technology, health, economics, and commerce.
  • In 2008, the Government of Quebec led a major trade delegation to Israel composed of some 40 government officials, business and university leaders. On this occasion, Quebec’s Minister for Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Raymond Bachand signed an additional agreement on the development of economic and technological cooperation between the Government of the State of Israel and the Government of Quebec. As one example of the benefits of this relationship, in 2010 Bombardier – Québec’s world renowned transportation firm – signed a $185 Million contract to build rail coaches in Israel.
  • Following the 2008 Quebec trade delegation to Israel, Quebec’s leading business publication published a 20-page supplement titled “The Israeli Miracle”, celebrating Quebec-Israel business partnerships and Israel’s R&D model.
  • In 2005, Ontario and Israel signed an MOU on industrial and technological development cooperation, for the purpose of expanding joint R & D projects. Resulting collaborative initiatives have focused on a range of areas – including brain and cancer research – and have involved various private sector firms and academic institutions like York University, Queen’s University, and Hebrew University (Jerusalem).
  • In 2010, Manitoba and Israel signed agreements in the areas of commercial business development, agricultural research, and water technology – including collaboration between the University of Manitoba and Hebrew University. Since 2007, Manitoba and Israel have conducted a periodical joint symposium on water issues, studying matters of mutual expertise such as wetlands reclamation and waste water management.
  • In 2011, Dalhousie University and Hebrew University – with the support of the Government of Nova Scotia – signed an MOU to advance joint research projects in medicine, oceanography, water management, and waste management.
  • In 2012, the Mayor of Montreal lead a business and research delegation to Israel. As a result, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce facilitating cooperation between Quebec and Israel businesses. As well, cooperation agreements were concluded between McGill University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Université de Montréal and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Polytechnique Montréal and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
  • In 2013 the president of the University of Montreal led a delegation of senior administartors to Israel following which agreements were signed netween the University and the Technion, the University and Haifa University, and other previous agrreements were strengthened with the University of Tel Aviv, Hebrew University . Also discussions were launched with the University of Ben Gurion in Beer Sheva.
  • Concordia University has the only Institute of Israel Studies in Quebec and its faculty of Engineering and computer science has an exchange agreement with the Technion.
  • In 2015, the Quebec Minister of Economy, Innovation and Exports Jacques Daoust led a trade delegation to Israel with a view of stimulating investments, as well as a business and technological exchanges between Quebec and Israel in key sectors such as life sciences, aerospace, IT and communications.
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