For a year now, Latvia has had an Innovation and Technology Representative Office of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia in Israel. Although the last month and a half has been truly challenging due to the war, the work does not stop, and not just that – Irina Rubinčika, Head of the LIAA Representation in Israel, is convinced that great potential remains for cooperation between the two countries. 

Of course, Israel is currently at war, but the local business community is calling it a “Tech Event” and expects another surge in innovation and investment once it is over. Despite world economic experts saying that “the Israeli economy is convulsing” and that “it will not be so easy to recover from the war”, Israelis themselves believe that they are only exercising their resilience and stockpiling motivation for yet another leap. There are always different events nowadays, the only difference is that as many people are usually invited as fit into the nearest bomb shelter.

Focus on innovation and technology

Latvian Office for Innovation and Technology in Israel emphasises joint projects in the field of innovation and technology. It’s been a year since I started running it. During this time, I have been to many events where they have presented bio-robots, video cameras that can talk, satellites that can see a football from space, flying taxis, artificial milk and honey... It seems like Israel is a land of inventors and not so easily impressed. 

But it’s not true! My Israeli interlocutors from large corporations, the Innovation Agency and startups are interested in Latvian researchers’ inventions such as the miniature MRI machine, artificial spider silk, the gut microbiome on a chip, nano-coating for hydrogen tanks and betulin from birch bark. Our strengths lie in natural sciences. Our scientists are raring to go, just waiting to release their achievements for the world market to behold. And Israel can be the gateway to this market.  

Opportunities to collaborate on European projects

This year, LIAA and the Israel Innovation Agency signed a bilateral cooperation agreement to promote joint projects in innovation and technology. This cooperation offers a wide range of opportunities for knowledge sharing, transfer of technology and the combination of innovative solutions to create marketable products. Several virtual networking events will take place in the near future, inviting Latvian researchers and entrepreneurs to meet potential Israeli partners in order to jointly participate in the EU Horizon calls in the digital, climate and health fields. By the way, Israeli participants are among the most successful winners of this and Eureka project competitions. In only four years, they have won more than € 550 million. 

Latvia has much to offer Israel

In 2023, a partnership between Riga Technical University and an Israeli semiconductor startup has been established; an Israeli ICT startup is exploring the possibility of establishing a software development centre in Riga, and offers have been received to invest in Latvian companies. Of course, the war interrupted this excellent cooperation. But the Startup Nation became the Resilience Nation – a nation of fighting back. At the moment, the biggest interest is in drone technology and, rather simply, in good quality tactical clothing. Latvia has a lot to offer in this area as well. 

Latvia can also provide Israel with export commodities such as peace and tranquillity. Israeli entrepreneurs have been keen to set up startups in the quiet parts of Europe in recent years. I believe that Latvia is ready to continue to welcome entrepreneurs from the land of inventors, who will inspire us and help strengthen our economy.

Please e-mail me if you have ideas for possible cooperation with Israel partners: