“In India companies are big and people know how to manage huge companies. That is why we are looking at better relations with India, a country which has the capacity to take us to the next level. You are the future generation and this is why it is important for you to come to our country and help us accelerate,” said Yael Hashavit, Consulate General of Israel in Bangalore, while delivering a talk on ‘Developing Technology Partnerships between Entrepreneurial Firms in India and Israel’ at IIM Bangalore, today.
Highlighting the evolving India-Israel relations and technology collaborations, Yael Hashavit pointed out that the two countries complement each other as they have so much in common. She said that Israelis are open and non-formal. “There is a history of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel, and a longer history of friendship before that. That is why Israelis feel welcome in India and there is cooperation in different fields.”
She also listed few lessons that the IIMB students going to Israel for the exchange programme can learn. “Before business, you need to understand the character of Israelis. From the time Israel was established in 1948, when it was just a desert with no resources, to what it has become today, a land of opportunities, all this has made Israel creative, quick and efficient. Israelis are very welcoming by nature. We also like to go straight to the point about what we can do together. In India things are possible as we can talk-which is the basic need between nations to do business. Israelis also have a lot of doubts-about if we have done our best or if we can do it better, more efficiently or more successfully,” she explained.
She briefly touched upon the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s visit to India last week. She stated that it was a long visit as he wanted to review a lot of ongoing joint projects between the two countries in diverse fields. Altogether 21 MoUs were signed between universities.
“But signing MoUs is not enough; we need to take it forward. This is where you step in,” she told the students, “because you are the ones to see what we can do together. As governments, we can open the doors for you. But you have to make it real and see how you can coordinate, negotiate and work with your partners in Israel to take it to the next level. We are the startup nation of the world but we do not have the knowledge to take it to the next level. This is where you need to help us. Israel wants to reach out to India to create bigger companies.”
The Consul General spoke about university-owned companies in Israel, which turn patents/ideas conceived via research into profitable ventures. India and Israel are celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations which is marked with deepening economic, political and academic ties between the two countries.
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University have been collaborating over the last two years to contribute to these deepening ties. They jointly offer a course to IIMB students to develop technology partnerships between firms in India and Israel. While 28 students had enrolled for the course last year, this year 46 students have enrolled for the course. The premise of the course is the needs and opportunities in India that are not addressed because of a lack of certain technologies, and existing technologies in Israel that might fill the gap if they find Indian partners who can help scale the business for India and India-like markets.
The course, which focuses on the technology and supply side, enables the students to learn to identify technology opportunities in the global environment, particularly between India and Israel. In groups, they identify the technology needs of a company in India by interacting with key decision-makers over the term. Once there is some clarity, the groups contact companies in Israel to identify a potential collaboration partner. To make the partnership happen, a team of professionals with experience in the domain assists in the last stage of the search. Finally, the students visit Israel to interact with key decision-makers from the Israeli companies to work towards a partnership.
Coller School offers a similar program that brings their students to interact with Indian industry. These two groups
of students also get to interact with each other during the visits to deepen professional relationships. The objective of both courses is that after the efforts of the students, some of the linkages will result in actual business partnerships.
This collaboration between the two top business schools has received a lot of support from the Consulate General of Israel, which is the reason the Consul General addressed the students of the course. She emphasized on the need for India and Israel to increase engagement at the government-government level, firm-firm level and people-people level for mutual benefit, and also stressed on the scope for Israel to help Indian firms with technology, and the scope for Indian firms to help Israeli firms to achieve scale.
The course is anchored at IIMB by three faculty members – Professor Abhoy K Ojha from the Organizational Behaviour & Human Resources Management area, Professor Anshuman Tripathy from the Production & Operations Management area, and Professor Suresh Bhagavatula, Chairperson, Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development, NSRCEL, and at Coller School by Professor Gadi Ariav. They worked together to develop and offer the first version last year and a newer improved version this year.
According to Prof. Abhoy K Ojha, “This course itself may be seen as a partnership that has gone through different stages, with its ups and downs, and now is a living example of how such relationships can be forged given the right context and committed collaborators.”
According to Prof. Gadi Ariav of Coller School, “The course is a concrete and systematic exploration of opportunities to develop technology partnerships between entrepreneurial firms in India and Israel. The inaugural project last year eventually yielded two serious business propositions which are explored directly by the corresponding Indian and Israeli businesses. The exploration is again the focal point of an innovative course offered at IIMB which will culminate with a field study in Israel, where the class will be hosted by Tel Aviv University and will meet the companies that the students had studied and found attractive candidates for tech-transfer joint ventures. This repeated Indian-Israeli academic joint venture solidifies the relationship between India’s leading higher management education institute with Israeli higher education in general and Tel Aviv University in particular.”