23 Israeli water technology companies returned from IC Water – the Israel-California Water Conference, which introduced them to decision makers in the California water industry.
“At IC Water we saw evidence of a real shift in the approach of the water sector in California,” says Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech, which initiated the event. “As Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said ‘Its go time.’ The water crisis in California has created the necessary shift in the industry, and things are moving from the analyzing and planning stages, to the stage of action.” What Israel NewTech and its partners are doing, in a range of activities like IC Water, are making sure that Israeli companies are well-connected and positioned to provide California with the water technologies it needs.
The delegation of 23 Israeli companies included a wide range, from start-ups to established companies already doing business in California, like IDE. Maya Lachman, Corporate Business Director at IDE, gave the event high marks: “IC Water opened up promising business opportunities that we would not have arrived at otherwise. The event was very well put together, and we’d love to see this initiative continue and grow into additional events.”
Feedback from the U.S. attendees was also very encouraging. Chad Seidel, VP Corona Environmental Engineering, said: “Thanks so much for allowing me to participate in the conference! I thought it was very well attended and the discussions were great…I do look forward to future collaborations. We are working with several Israeli companies and I expect many more to come.”
IC Water actually included three events, a pre-conference reception at the LA Cleantech Incubator, an event in San Diego, and the main event on June 29th in Marina del Rey which included presentations from water industry leaders from California and Israel, as well as round table discussions and one-on-one meetings. The events were organized by Israel NewTech and the Economic Mission to the West Coast, both under the Ministry of Economy and Industry, and by the Israel Export Institute. In total, more than 400 people participated, with over 500 business to business meetings taking place.
“IC Water was a key event because we were able to bring together all the major stakeholders from California’s water industry: government, the agricultural sector, municipal and industry,” explains Gili Ovadia, Israel’s Economic Attache in California. “As Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said at the event: “the water challenge is the most pressing issue humanity will need to overcome in the 21st century.” California’s water sector is making the important shift from the individual (whether the single farm, city, utility, etc.) to a holistic approach incorporating various stakeholders. This shift will make it easier for Israeli water companies to do business in California,” concludes Ovadia.
IC Water is the culmination of months of work by Israel NewTech, the Israeli Economic Office in California, the Israel Export Institute and the Milken Innovation Center, which also prepared the Israeli companies for the delegation. “Preparation for the event was very thorough,” explains Shira Eting, a Milken fellow who interns at Israel NewTech. “Now our focus is on providing support so that the connections that were made at IC Water will flourish into real business, and continuing our work in building the synergy between Israel and California in the water arena.”