The cities of Eilat, in southern Israel, and Nice, in southern France, announced Monday that the two municipalities will launch a two-year initiative to solve common municipal problems using smart technology-based solutions.
Teams compromised of 10 members from each city will look for solutions to existing and future challenges in the fields of health, infrastructure, transportation and energy, community services, and tourism.
The program will be led by the Eilat Tech Center, which runs innovation programs for academic institutions, governments, municipalities, industry brands and investment funds. The center is backed by the Arieli Capital group, a US holding investment firm with offices in Israel and New York.
The two-year program will launch at the end of February. The team will hold monthly meetings to discuss the proposed solutions and meet in Eilat in September to present the proposals. Final projects will be presented a year later at a meeting in Nice.
Both Eilat and Nice have large tourism industries, but also share problems that are common to many cities around the world.
“The strategy is to identify challenges in the municipal environment and come up with proposals for solving and implementing them,” said Or Haviv, partner and head of Global Innovation Platforms at Arieli Capital.
Haviv said that many of the solutions will also be applicable in many other cities. “The ETC (Eilat Tech Center) will serve as the hub for the future development of technology-based solutions for the common problems identified by the two teams.”
The Eilat Tech Center, which houses the Eilat Hub incubator, seeks to turn Eilat into a travel tech hub and center of innovation in southern Israel.
Last year, Haviv told NoCamels that “just two-and-a-half years ago, there were zero startups in Eilat,” Today, it has at least 30 in its portfolio and runs over 114 programs for startups of all levels with tens of thousands of meetups throughout the year.
In late December 2019, the Eilat Tech Center announced it would host seven startups joining the first accelerator program for Italian startups in Israel. The program, established under a technology cooperation agreement signed between the two countries, aims to develop Italian startups based on the Israeli model. The startups will be based in Eilat from January to March 2020.