Georgia and Israel’s “Startup Nation” – Atlanta-based Southern Company and the Israel Innovation Authority – have each put up $1 million to fund technology-based and scientific projects that are a collaboration between the two regions. The $2 million will be allocated through grants.
In the United States, the program will be managed by the Georgia Centers of Innovation (COI), a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. COI will help collect and screen applications of the projects and ideas that apply for funding, said COI Executive Director R. Steven Justice.
“After this screening, both the Southern Company and Israel Innovation Authority will embark on direct negotiations with the selected applicants on the specifics of the project,” Justice said.
Southern Company expressed interest in connecting with innovation from Israel, a country consistently recognized for its high-tech focus, he said.
The Innovation Authority first offered this program to Georgia two years ago, but it took until recently to identify the company that would put up the initial funding, said Oded Shorer, director of economy and commerce for the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeastern United States.
The advantages of the program include increased research and development and cross-exposure to different countries and markets in Israel and the U.S., Shorer said.
The hope is the Israeli partners will also consider putting an operation base in Georgia — adding intellectual capital, economic development and jobs.
The “representative office” would “assist in boosting Atlanta’s profile as an important hi-tech hub,” Shorer said.
The program seeks projects focused on such industries as: vehicle automation/electrification; advanced materials; sustainable energy/water/agriculture; public safety; smart home; and data analytics.