Ecosystem Haifa 2018 Focuses On City As Center Of Digital Health Innovation
February 19, 2018 | Over 500 senior high tech executives, health professionals, academics, government officials and entrepreneurs attended the Ecosystem Haifa 2018 conference last week to focus on Haifa as a center of innovation and entrepreneurship as well as a global leader in the field of digital healthcare. The conference was led by former MK Erel Margalit’s National Initiative organization, the Haifa municipality, and the Haifa port, in cooperation with Haifa mayor Yona Yahav and Brad Bloom of the Boston-Haifa Connection, and with participation from global, high tech, research, academic and cultural institutions operating in Haifa. The conference, hosted by Margalit, is part of the Israel Initiative 2020 (ii2020), Margalit’s vision to create dynamic centers of excellence in seven regions throughout Israel with the goal of raising the standard of living and attracting employment, young professionals, and new families while also developing a regional ecosystem. “Haifa has pioneering research institutions, one of the world’s leading medical companies, the presence of multinational companies and a flourishing entrepreneurial scene – combining these four elements together, around the digital health field can create thousands of jobs here,” Margalit said, according to a statement. According to Margalit, Haifa has revolutionized its lower city and he “has no doubt” it will do the same with its downtown area. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon opened the conference, announcing that the Ministry of Finance will be a full partner in the vision to transform the lower city into a center of innovation of entrepreneurship in the field of digital health. He also announced that American multinational corporation Intel will soon invest billions in expanding their production in Israel. This week, Globes reported that Intel is expected to invest between $4 to $5 billion into its expansion in Israel and that Kahlon made the announcement after receiving confirmation from Intel. Kahlon later revealed that Intel affirmed the planned investment with a positive response to a package of benefits they would be offered in exchange for the deal. At the conference, Intel Israel CEO Yaniv Gerti noted that more than 5,000 people are currently employed at the Intel branch in Haifa and that Intel will be expanding in the city and the region. He said that “the ecosystem created in Haifa provides us with a great environment for expanding activity and creating more jobs.” WeWork Israel CEO Benji Singer unveiled that WeWork is set to establish two WeWork facilitated spaces in the lower city and another one in a location that has not yet been revealed. Professor Rafi Beyar, director of Rambam Health Care Campus, also emphasized that Rambam wants to “bring down the barriers between medicine and research,” according to the statement, ” by connecting medical research to technology, digital health, and high tech leaders in the city.