CINCINNATI – Greater Cincinnati business leaders are heading to Israel Sunday in search of companies that might want to do business here.
And water is tops the list of reasons companies might want a presence in the region.
As WCPO reported in collaboration with 91.7 WVXU, the liquid assets unique to Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati and Dayton could help turn this region into the “Silicon Valley of water.” Those assets include not only an abundant supply of fresh water but also thousands of water researchers and scientists and federal testing facilities that can’t be found anywhere else in the country.
“We have a competitive advantage for that,” said Tammy Riddle, a director at the Cincinnati USA Partnership, the economic development arm of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
Riddle leads the partnership’s efforts to establish connections with Israeli companies. She’s leading the trip there.
The first half of the 11-day trip will focus on consumer analytics, technology and digital interaction, another of the region’s business strengths. That will happen at the same time as the Digital Life Conference, or DLD, an international high-tech event in Israel.
The second half of the trip will focus on water and will occur in conjunction with Watec, an international conference on water technology that’s also being held in Israel.
Greater Cincinnati Water Works already has worked with Booky Oren to establish a Global Water Technology Hub. Oren is the former executive director of Israel's national water company and is CEO of Booky Oren Global Water Technologies. Representatives of a Cincinnati nonprofit that markets the region’s water technology strengths are among the seven local business people going to Israel with the chamber.
“We want to know their companies and what they’re working on technology-wise, and we want to share what we have going on,” said Melinda Kruyer, executive director of Confluence. “At the end of the day, it’s about economic development, and we’re so happy that the chamber has made this a priority.”
This trip marks the fourth time the chamber has traveled to Israel in recent years.
Although the country represents a small international market, it is known for its innovation and cutting-edge technology, Riddle said.
Many Israeli businesses seek to grow by expanding into the U.S., she said, so the partnership’s goal is to make Cincinnati the first U.S. market those companies want to enter.
The idea is not to have companies relocate from Israel to Cincinnati, but to establish a presence and bring jobs and investment here, said Matt Davis, the partnership’s interim executive director.
“We want to incrementally grow the number of Israeli companies creating jobs in the region over the next five years and grow that innovation ecosystem,” Davis said.
Read the WCPO/WVXU Liquid Assets project here: http://www.wcpo.com/liquid-assets