Arkansas Partners With Israel on Tech Innovation & Research


Arkansas Partners With Israel on Tech Innovation & Research
Israel Innovation Authority Chair Ami Appelbaum, left, shakes hands with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in Washington, D.C. on June 14, 2022. Arkansas and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding to promote cooperation in tech innovation. (AEDC)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding between the state and the Israel Innovation Authority to promote cooperation in technological innovation, research and development.

Under the arrangement, Arkansas and Israel will share information on projects that will help the entities "better leverage resources to develop new technologies that can be commercialized in global markets," the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said in a news release.

Hutchinson called it a "mutually beneficial partnership" that will build on the state's efforts to develop a tech-based workforce. Ami Appelbaum, chair of the Innovation Authority, pointed to the agriculture and automotive industries as sectors for potential collaboration.

Israel’s publicly funded Innovation Authority provides tools and funding to address local and international innovation, including early-stage entrepreneurs and mature companies developing new products or processes. It also works with academic groups, global corporations interested in collaborating with Israeli technology, and Israeli companies seeking global markets.

The partnership with Arkansas comes after Hutchinson traveled to Israel in November on a trade mission. The Republican governor spoke at the Prime Minister's Smart Mobility Conference during the trip.

Trade between Israel and Arkansas was valued at nearly $104 million in 2021.

"Israel is one of the most business friendly, innovative, and forward-thinking places in the world, and the Natural State is likewise paving the way for the future of technological innovation," Mike Preston, Arkansas commerce secretary, said in the release. "Stimulating innovation and economic growth are of mutual concern to both Arkansas and Israel, making this partnership a natural fit."