Under the deal, Georgia companies seeking research partners will issue requests for proposals with the Israel Innovation Authority. The Georgia company will provide funding, and the IIA will match it.
“This is a tremendous day not only for the state of Georgia, but for our partners: the Southern Co. and any number of businesses that are going to be able to take advantage of this,” Wilson said, adding that the agreement enhances “a long-term relationship that means a lot to us.”
He said Georgia has maintained a presence in Israel for a quarter-century, producing a range of benefits. More than 40 Israeli businesses operate in Georgia.
He said the Southern Co. has identified a potential Israeli partner for innovation in electric vehicles, which would help the energy company’s customers and its own fleet of vehicles.
Southern Co. Chairman Thomas Fanning and the IIA will sign the RFP in Israel in a couple of weeks, said Oded Shorer, the Israeli Consulate’s economy and trade director.
The Atlanta-based company and the Israeli agency each will put up $1 million for the first year of the program. Oded Shorer said the hope is to increase the grant funding in future years.
While the Southern Co. is the first Georgia business operating under the agreement, Wilson expects other companies to take advantage of the structure now that it is in place.
The Southern Co. has a database of Georgia companies in the technology areas covered by the RFP and is prepared to help them find Israeli partners, while the IIA has a database of Israeli companies and provides immediate matching.
Israeli tech innovation and the IIA are impressive, Britt said. “We’re excited.”