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Israel has an untapped resource to help your company take over the world

Opinion

Israel has an untapped resource to help your company take over the world

When trying to break out of their natural habitat, companies should take advantage of an underutilized asset that is free, accessible in their mother tongue, and potentially encapsulates valuable data, resources, and relevant networks-- that's right, meet your embassy

Oded Yair Menuhin | 10:54  19.08.2020
As we delve deeper into this challenging year of 2020, in which the economy fluctuates and almost nothing is certain, there is one thing there is broad agreement on— the need to innovate and think out of the box, frequently and constantly in order to stand out and thrive.

One of the ways businesses can stand out and thereby gain a competitive edge is by establishing international strategic alliances for the sake of gaining market share and human capital in unexplored areas, such as foreign countries.

Oded Yair Menuhun. Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard Oded Yair Menuhun. Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard Oded Yair Menuhun. Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard

One of the biggest challenges facing those who seek technical and business partners abroad is that they assume that the logic and the ways of conducting business in a foreign country is similar to what they’re used to at home. Unfortunately, reality proves different.

Many market leaders and companies miss opportunities not because their product is inadequate, but rather because of miscommunication. When trying to break out of their natural habitat, companies should take advantage of an underutilized asset that is free, accessible in their mother tongue, and potentially encapsulates valuable data, resources, and relevant networks-- that's right, meet your embassy.

I am certain that many readers just raised their eyebrows skeptically at the notion. To many, the idea of contacting people sent by governments doesn’t sound that useful or appealing. But, truth be told, unless you have experience in a country-of-interest, assuming that you know nothing and have a lot to learn can be a solid strategy to start off from, as soaking up valuable accumulated tacit knowledge, can result in fruitful output. It may come as a surprise, but creating international strategic partnerships and helping Israeli companies step into foreign markets are of paramount importance to the Israeli embassies worldwide. This is how many Israeli innovations make their way into the global market, with the help of diplomacy.

During my time at the Embassy of Israel in Copenhagen, Denmark, my role was, together with the Deputy Chief of Mission Davy Antebi, to scout for and help startups, companies, investors, hospitals, R&D centers, and many other substantial entities gain access to the right networks and help establish strategic alliances.

More specifically, my role was to analyze the needs of Denmark and Israel, particularly the incentives for companies to enter the Danish market, identify interesting events or tenders, and map out the ways the embassy can open doors for companies. More specific analysis can be made upon request. In this way, embassies maintain direct contact with companies and institutions that could be a good match for aspiring exporters.

How can an embassy help?

1. Networking - Embassies usually have substantial connections from various industries. Those valuable interpersonal relations are established and maintained constantly for entrepreneurs to harness. For example, one of the roles of the Israeli Ambassador to Denmark, Benny Dagan, is to establish personal relations with major stakeholders to see how Israeli Innovation can be put to work. My role was to scout unexplored areas such as healthtech, foodtech, and agtech.

2. Providing information - updating the business community about relevant events for mingling, interesting trends, exhibitions, and competitions. The Economics & Trade Officer in a country, among other things, can help with targeting business opportunities in a country of interest. Embassies continuously follow up with new updates on the establishment of new governmental bodies, scan through different tenders, and meet with substantial governmental stakeholders to characterize the immediate and long-term needs a country has. This inside information can be highly valuable for companies.

3. Opening doors - As mentioned previously, you can ask the embassy if they have a specific contact in a company, industry, or a substantial stakeholder. An introduction made by an embassy representative can stand out against the torrent of email requests a company or institute might receive from companies wishing to sell their product or looking for collaborations.

So what are you waiting for? Send an email to your embassy, and remember that your success is their success.

If you want to know more about what Israel's foreign representitives can do to help businesses grow, read CTech's DiplomaTech series of interviews with the men and women who serve around the world.

Oded Yair Menuhin holds a master’s degree in Business Administration & Bioentrepreneurship. He specialised in strategic planning, scouting, and international alliances creation and served as an intern at the Embassy of Israel in Denmark.

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