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Colorado Governor Leads Business Group to Israel

Colorado Governor Leads Business Group to Israel

August 3, 2008

Negev Development & Community Programs, Social Sciences & Humanities

Gov. Bill Ritter will lead a delegation of Colorado government and business leaders to Israel on Monday, to begin establishing long-term ,Business investment and research partnerships there.

The Colorado group will visit with national officials, including Israeli President Shimon Peres; Benjamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer, minister of Industry, Trade and Labor; and Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau. They’ll also meet with representatives from businesses such as Better Place Electric Vehicles, the world’s leading electric-vehicle service provider, and Noble Energy, which is helping to diversify Israel’s energy portfolio with natural gas.

While there through July 18, Ritter and the delegation will sign three memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to create partnerships in fields such as energy, clean tech and water. Those are:

• A bilateral agreement between Israel and Colorado.

• An MOU between Colorado State University and the Desert Research Center at Ben Gurion University.

• An MOU between the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Agro Research and Development Center.

“We are both highly entrepreneurial, with industries that are driven by intellectual capital,” Ritter said in a news release. “We both emphasize emerging and innovative industries such as new energy, clean tech, bioscience and water. This mission is a first step toward developing ongoing mutually beneficial relationships between our two states, academic and research institutions and private businesses.”

Israel boasts more venture capital funding and more startup companies per capita than any other developed nation, Ritter noted.

Among those joining Ritter on the trip, which is being underwritten by private contributions to the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, are Tom Plant, director, Governor’s Energy Office; Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp; and Don Marostica, director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Officials from Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines and the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory will be there too, as well as leaders of businesses such as Braddock Financial Corp., Allonhill, Israel Investment Advisors, Madison Ventures, Monroe Group, Steele Properties and Hogan Lovells.

“This trip represents the kind of relationship-building that you have to do to generate new jobs and capital for Colorado,” said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “Colorado and Israel have similar goals when it comes to investing in and growing the clean energy, biofuels and aerospace sectors. They are a center for innovation and capital — and it’s important for us to be there.”