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Rhode Island Israel Collaborative (RIIC) Celebrates its 5th Year Anniversary with an Event in Israel

On December 23, 2021, in a space high above the city of Tel Aviv on the 22nd floor of the offices of Barnea, Jaffa and Lande, the Rhode Island Israel Collaborative (RIIC) held a networking event to commemorate the fifth anniversary of its founding. The rainstorm and the pandemic could not stop the celebration. Attendees came from as far as Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem, Haifa, Ashdod and Tel Aviv. The RIIC, a non-profit organization, was founded by CEO, Avi Nevel in 2016 with the intent of growing commercial, academic, and scientific connections between Rhode Island and Israel. In the five years since its founding, the RIIC has helped to grow dozens of productive international partnerships.

In the pictures Khouloud Ayuti, Baruch Pearl, Robin Tessler, Mickey Barnea, Yaniv Tessel, Uri Hayik, Dr. Roey Tzezana and Avi Nevel

The commemoration, open solely to vaccinated and masked participants, took place in the 22nd-floor offices of noted Israeli law firm Barnea Jaffa and Lande & Co. In attendance were representatives from startup incubators, venture capital firms, businesses, academics, industry technology innovators, as well as Israeli and American government representatives. The event attracted a capacity crowd of 60. The event was limited to 60 people due to the Corona pandemic.

The evening began with refreshments and networking, followed by opening remarks from RIIC Directors Baruch Perl and Khouloud Ayuti who MC’d the event. Perl offered thanks to event sponsors Barnea Jaffa Lande and IBM and IBM Alpha Zone startup accelerator, with nods to Rhode Island Commerce, Bryant University who helped with funding the trip, while Ayuti articulated the RIIC’s mission and introduced Mickey Barnea, partner of Barnea, Jaffa and Lande who congratulated the RIIC and said they are looking forward to continuing relation with Rhode Island and its ecosystem.

Robyn Kessler, senior commercial officer at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem spoke about the benefits of international collaboration and foreign direct investment in the United States.

"Erev Tov. It is a true pleasure to be part of this evening’s celebration. Let me first congratulate Avi Nevel and the Rhode Island – Israel Collaborative on a wonderful 5-year journey. I am sure the partnership will continue to grow and flourish. The Rhode Island – Israel Collaborative has been an important partner for my team at the U.S. Embassy. We actively support U.S. export promotion and investment attraction programs. The strong spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation present in both our nations creates natural partnership opportunities – and my team is here to help facilitate those connections.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is planning our next Discover Global Markets Business Forum – our flagship event for U.S. exporters – to take place September 20-22, 2022 in Providence. This forum will be focused on the Blue Economy, covering both traditional ocean industries such as fisheries, tourism, and maritime transport, and new and emerging activity, such as offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, and marine biotechnology."

She was followed by Yaniv Tessel, Director of North and Latin America Ministry of Economy and Industry who congratulated the RIIC on their continuous support and growth of the Israel/ Rhode Island business, research ecosystem.

IBM Israel CTO Uri Hayik, spoke of the importance of technological innovation and productive partnerships. RIIC Founder & CEO Avi Nevel spoke next, Nevel thanked the hosts and supporters who assisted and participated, created and hosted the event and celebrating the RIIC’s successes through collaboration. In particular, he mentioned, “We are focusing connecting people to people in academia, business and research and the results and showing everyday collaborations between Israelis and Rhode Islanders. “

Nevel mentioned some of the highlights of the last few years and especially the successful visit of Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island who is currently United States Secretary of Commerce and Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce’s visit to Israel November 2019, and its impact on building the relation between Israel and Rhode Island. This visit was especially important as it was the first visit of a sitting Rhode Island governor from Rhode Island to Israel.

Nevel especially thanked everyone who assisted the RIIC’s mission throughout the year.

Nevel then recognized with a certificate on behalf of the Rhode Island Israel Collaborative, Ronen Siman-Tov, CTO of IBM Alphazone and resident CTO of RIHub and former Israeli Ambassador Zeev Boker, Israel Consul General to New England .

Siman-Tov, CTO of IBM’s Alpha Zone Accelerators, was recognized for his efforts in the creation of RIHub, a Rhode Island-based innovation incubator whose Bridge to Israel program has built and grown partnerships between companies in Israel and Rhode Island. Ambassador Boker, previously the Israeli Consul General to New England, received special acknowledgement for his efforts in connecting the RIIC with Israeli tech company Wix, whose software was instrumental to the RIIC’s Latino Biz Web Design Project.

Futurist and RIIC Director Dr. Roey Tzezana followed up with an engaging lecture about the future of food/beef, which was followed by more mingling and networking.

Dr. Roey Tzezana ledturing about the future of food and meat

Two days prior, at an event in Ashdod, Israel, Nevel himself received an award for his work in building collaborations between companies and organizations in Ashdod and Rhode Island. That event also marked the announcement of a blue tech (maritime) startup competition between the cities of Ashdod and Newport, Rhode Island. The competition, which kicks off on February 22, 2022, will provide support for four blue tech startups in each city, with a cash prize for the winning team. The competition’s winners will be announced in April, 2022.

Avi Nevel visit to the city of Ashdod

Photography was by Dan Alon.


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