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INNOFENSE – Innovation program for technological startups in the civilian and security sector, which will be operated by iHLS in collaboration with MAF’AT at the Ministry of Defense
Israel Ministry of Defense and iHLS collaborate in the innovation center INNOFENSE – “an innovation program for technological projects in the civilian and security sector.” The program is designed to strengthen the links between the civilian and defense markets via the collaborative development of the technologies, thus advancing and improving their integration in both markets.
Within the framework of the program, an innovative connection model is applied for the first time vis a vis the startup companies. The model led by the Israel Ministry of Defense Chief Economist enables the entrepreneurs to operate with ultimate flexibility and accessibility to the Ministry of Defense and the IDF. During the first stage of the program, several projects will be recruited for a six-month period, and each project will receive a NIS 200,000 grant, in addition to support from the Innovation Center.
Within the framework of the Innovation Center, the entrepreneurs receive from each iHLS all the services required for the acceleration and development of the startup, including business mentoring. The company supports the projects from the stage of technological proof of concept, business development, penetration to relevant markets, legal advice, and networking for further investments in the future. They will be joined by coaches and mentors, R&D representatives from MAF’AT (Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure) and the relevant arms.
Brig. Gen. (res.) Dr. Danny Gold, Head of MAF’AT, Ministry of Defense: INNOFENSE, the new innovation center of MAFA’T and the Ministry of Defense will serve as the professional and technological hub for any dual project or idea at the competitive civilian market. Professional team support alongside a generous financial grant will help every startup project chosen to break out as high and as far as possible. The various security agencies will enjoy the fruits of the project, alongside civilian economic, business-wise success.
MAFA’T considers this unique project as a cornerstone of the materialization of its national responsibility to successfully ‘turn vision into security’.”
Israel Ministry of Defense has chosen iHLS as a partner to the project due to its success in the innovation arena during the past several years. iHLS has been operating a dedicated accelerator for HLS technologies during recent years, which attracts tremendous demand thanks to the exposure, support and connections that the company can supply to entrepreneurs.
Michal Altshuler Kalifa, Head of Economic Development and Innovation at the Chief Economist, Ministry of Defense, who had initiated and formulated the program’s connection model: “The innovation center embarked on its way following several years of efforts during which we managed to remove many barriers and build a connection model that enables accessibility and flexibility in the work with startups. The program is much more than an accelerator, it is a long-term program enabling rapid developments in a business environment.”
Meital Keren Ben-Dov, Founder and Partner, iHLS, and the manager of the iHLS Accelerator, said: “The Ministry of Defense’s move is no less than an earthquake in this field. Israeli defense industries have been the ancestors of the Israeli innovation nation, growing the most advanced systems in the world. They, too, understand that this is not enough and that one should be updated and acknowledge that innovation grows also externally to the traditional frameworks. We are very proud that the Ministry of Defense has chosen us as partners.
Guy Keren, founder and partner, iHLS, said: “The accelerator participants enjoy the great advantage of the various content platforms, and within a very short time they are exposed to hundreds of potential customers and investors in Israel and globally. Another advantage is the fact that the representatives of the leading defense industries in Israel and abroad participate in the program’s screening committee. This way, the entrepreneurs enjoy the capabilities of lifting the barriers and opening the doors for potential customers and investors, while the industries enjoy exposure to the market’s emerging technologies.”
The accelerator program supplies technological, strategic, business and marketing support as well as helps in sales and funding efforts.
iHLS has a global network with exposure to more than 200 countries, networking and business links with over 100,000 investors, entrepreneurs, institutions, organizations, and companies in the fields of security and HLS. The company has a leading accelerator that has been cultivating many startups, 95% of which have raised money and are connected to the Israeli and global defense industry.
The accelerator program is led by Meital Keren Ben-Dov, founder and partner at the company, an entrepreneur with a 20-year experience in the security high-tech field and the startup realm. Among other activities, eight years ago she established iHLS in order to market and expose security technologies outside Israeli boundaries, with one of the world’s leading internet websites in the HLS technologies field.
Keren Ben-Dov adds: “We have no doubt that the Ministry of Defense’s program, coupled with the business capabilities, knowledge, and experience in the security innovation ecosystem, will bring about the creation of a promising and unique innovation center which will yield far-reaching achievements to Israeli innovation.”