IIA approves $115 million to support start-ups amid COVID-19

Written by on August 23, 2020

Israel’s high-tech sector has been suffering budgetary issues for a while now, as the country’s been caught in a limbo of political confusion since last year.

Alibaba Group co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma speaks at The Prime Minister's Israeli Innovation Summit in Tel Aviv, Israel October 25, 2018. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Alibaba Group co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma speaks at The Prime Minister’s Israeli Innovation Summit in Tel Aviv, Israel October 25, 2018.

(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) has approved an additional $115 million to support Israeli start-up companies that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the technology news website KrAsia.

Israel’s hi-tech sector has been suffering budgetary issues for a while now, as the country’s been caught in a limbo of political confusion since last year, with several failed attempts of forming a functional government and hundreds of millions of shekels worth of grants being postponed or simply canceled.

In early November, Calcalist reported that the IIA was delaying $28 million in grant payments to 250 Israeli tech companies, a number which later grew to 500, as the political situation caused the government budget to freeze, and the IIA’s annual investment budget to come to a staggering halt.

The crisis brought about by the coronavirus pandemic made things even worse, with hundreds of companies forced to halt projects and let employees go.

The additional budget approved last week comes as a relief to many in Israel’s hi-tech sector.

According to KrAsia, the funding will enable the IIA to extend the application deadline for fast-track grants until November 19, 2020, giving newer companies or those who haven’t had the chance, to apply for much-needed government funding. 

The IIA’s Fast Track program was launched in April with the purpose of helping expedite the recovery of small and medium high-tech companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic by bypassing red tape procedures and receiving grants much faster.

“The Authority is therefore supporting high-functioning companies which have a good chance of transcending the crisis but are currently facing difficulties in raising funds or making sales. We have substantially expanded the support mechanism for companies so that they can utilize our grants in order to maintain operations, and have taken it upon ourselves to guarantee that we complete the evaluation and decision-making process within four weeks,” IIA CEO Aharon Aharon said in a statement.

Besides extending the application deadline, Aharon noted that the IIA modified its criteria for the program following increased demand in order to allow more companies to submit their application.

“The incentive program’s grants will help these companies successfully traverse the current crisis and become part of the growth engine stimulating the Israeli economy as it overcomes this difficult period,” Aharon concluded.

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