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Building An Innovation Ecosystem in the Desert

Building An Innovation Ecosystem in the Desert

June 23, 2020

Negev Development & Community Programs

The Jerusalem Post — “Beer-Sheva is positioning itself as a new innovation ecosystem alongside Tel Aviv,” says Prof. Dan Blumberg, vice president for regional and industrial development at BGU.

An aerial view of the Advanced Technologies Park

Speaking at the CyberTech Live C4I and Cyber Event, he spoke of the collaboration between the IDF, industry, academia, and local authorities in developing this new innovation ecosystem in Beer-Sheva and the Negev.

Prof. Dan G. Blumberg
Vice President
Regional and Industrial Development

“It is a big opportunity, not only for Beer-Sheva and the Negev, but is a big opportunity for the State of Israel and promises a future for the next generations,” says Prof. Blumberg.

The idea was based on recent international research, which observed an emerging geography of innovation districts in cities and urbanizing areas around the world.

This includes several small and international companies contributing to the economic and social growth of an underdeveloped region.

According to Prof. Blumberg, there are three crucial factors that contribute to developing a successful innovation ecosystem: infrastructure, such as buildings, roads, accessibility and parks; economic investments; and networking assets, or in other words how the people and companies within the ecosystem interact on a social level.

Another key component, are universities, which can produce human capital and new research and ideas in collaboration with companies and industry as well as hospitals.

Today in Beer-Sheva, the innovation ecosystem is comprised of a collaboration between BGU, Soroka University Medical Center, the city of Beer-Sheva, the Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) including some 70 companies, the government, and several incubators.

Prof. Blumberg adds that this collaboration only marks the beginning as BGU is set to double in size in the coming years and the ecosystem is expected to grow.

BGU promotes a research-driven agenda with investment potential in a number of strategic fields including digital health and wellness, IT and cyber, as well as desert tech.

Today, Beer-Sheva has become a cyber hub, with BGU recognized as a leader in the cyber field and numerous international cybersecurity companies moving to the ATP as well as the relocation of IDF IT units to the city.

Read more in The Jerusalem Post >>