The president of the Atlanta-based American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Southeast is helping chambers throughout the U.S. approach Israel as a business partner for their communities.
“Typically when chambers of commerce think of international, Israel isn’t the first country that comes to mind,” said Tom Glaser, who has led the Israel chamber since he helped found it the early 1990s.
Instead, they turn to neighboring Canada and Mexico, traditional investors like France, Germany, the United Kingdom, or large, emerging markets like Brazil and China, Mr. Glaser told GlobalAtlanta.
Israel may be small, but it holds vast partnership potential, Mr. Glaser told fellow members of American Chamber of Commerce Executives at the organization’s annual convention last week in Milwaukee.
The group, a nonprofit with more than 7,800 individual members from 1,400 chambers, asked Mr. Glaser to put together a panel discussion on Israel. In 31 years of membership, he can’t remember another time Israel has taken center stage at the convention.
“I think there is a growing recognition [about Israel], partly from the the success of the ‘Start-up Nation’ book back in February. That raised Israel’s profile on the business side quite a bit,” he said.
When reaching out to Israel, communities must go beyond touting their quality of life and good business environment, Mr. Glaser said.
“For Israelis, that’s not enough. They’ve got to have business opportunities,” he said.
That means communities should evaluate what they’re good at and define an industry focus before reaching out to Israel. In metro Atlanta, which is now home to 45 Israeli companies, health care information technology and financial technology have been attractive clusters, Mr. Glaser said.
About 45 chamber officials attended the panel, which also featured Sami Shaheen, president of the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce, and Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce.
On Aug. 26, the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Southeast will host a professional seminar titled “Staying Competitive: Attracting & Growing Israeli Companies in the Southeast.”
Click here for more information on the upcoming seminar.
Click here to learn more about the chamber.