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Two RIIC events held December 3rd at Innovate Newport and December 4th in the Nelson Center, Provide

The first BIRD workshop held Tuesday, December 3rd at the Innovate Newport began with opening remarks given by Tuni Schartner, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Innovate Newport and Kate Grotteberg, Events, Development & Program Director of the Newport Chamber of Commerce who gave background on the Innovation Center and Avi Nevel, President & CEO of the Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative (RIIC) moderated the event and shared how the RIIC focuses on building relationships between Rhode Island companies, research and academia and their counterparts in Israel and spoke about the activities and achievements of the RIIC and talked about the recent visit by Governor Gina Raimondo and Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor to Israel and the agreement signed by Ben Gurion University as a continuation of the growing relationship between Rhode Island and Israel business, research and academia.

(Both events) Guest Speaker, Sara Smolley, (2nd from left) Co-Founder and VP of Strategy of Voiceitt ,(Technologies of Voice Interface, Ltd), a pioneer in development speech recognition technologies for people with speech disabilities and a recipient of a joint BIRD grant collaborating with a U.S. company in New York . (See link) Sara spoke about her experience in obtaining the BIRD Foundation grant and the positive impact it has had on their company.


On Wednesday’s event in the Nelson Center, Providence, Avi Nevel made the opening remarks, once again speaking about how the RIIC focuses on building relationships between Rhode Island companies, research and academia and their counterparts in Israel and the activities and achievements of the RIIC.

(photo) The event was moderated by Ella Hood, Board Member of the RIIC.

For both events the presentation was given by Andrea Yonah, the Director of Business Development, East Coast/Midwest, U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial R&D (BIRD) Foundation. Andrea is responsible for BIRD’s East Coast and Midwest activities and works to increase the Foundation’s profile among U.S. companies by engaging in business development, strategic growth initiatives, relationship management, and matchmaking between Israeli and U.S. companies.

Andrea presented the details of the BIRD funding opportunity project. Any pair of companies, one Israeli and one U.S.-based, may apply jointly so long as they can demonstrate the combined capabilities and infrastructure to define, develop, manufacture, sell and support an innovative product based on industrial R&D. The key criterion is that each corporate entity shall have the ability to carry out its part of the joint development and commercialization. Their willingness to share in the financial risk of product development as well as in the financial gain of commercialization, are also key factors in BIRD’s evaluation.

The BIRD Foundation offers conditional grants for joint development projects on a risk-sharing basis. The Foundation funds up to 50% of each company’s R&D expenses associated with the joint project, up to $1M per project. Repayments are due if commercial revenues are generated as a direct result of the project.

To learn more about the BIRD Foundation and the RIIC please contact

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