On a visit to Israel late last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), an Israeli NGO that tracks Israel’s tech industry and serves as a bridge to interested parties, to tap into technology solutions that could help Michigan citizens.
As part of the agreement, the state of Michigan and SNC will work to “connect innovative ecosystems and identify Israel-based companies with opportunities to expand operations into Michigan to further the development and application of emerging technologies,” according to a statement provided by the governor’s office The MOU builds on Michigan’s continued leadership in utilizing public-private partnerships to test, pilot and deploy new technologies in the state.
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“This MOU can offer a blueprint for connecting the innovation ecosystems strategically. An example might be how to optimize mobility to improve transportation options for citizens who may not be looking for a self-driving car, but who do need an affordable, reliable way to go to the bank, get to an appointment or meet friends for coffee,” Whitmer said.
“I appreciate the partnership of Start-up Nation as we work together to build the connection that will transform our transportation landscape and lead to stronger relationships between Michigan and Israel,” she added.
The MoU came after Michigan earlier this year became the first state in the United States to launch a free web platform for the state’s startup ecosystem, created by SNC. The platform, called startupMICHIGAN.com, is powered by the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA) and features more than 300 startups, hubs, and funders.
Whitmer’s trip to Israel, her first international trip as governor, focused on the strength of the relationship between Michigan and Israel in the fields of automotive technology, cybersecurity, and next-generation transportation, her office said. Her schedule included a visit to GM’s Advanced Technological Center in Herzliya, a meeting with Israeli Minister of Energy Dr. Yuval Steinitz for discussions on Michigan’s business climate, and workforce, and an address at the Water Technology and Environmental Council Conference (WATEC) in Tel Aviv.