As part of its activities promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Israel, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) provides budgets to technology entrepreneurship projects to encourage and support their various stages, including the proof of concept (PoC) stage.
Entrepreneurs may choose one of two tracks to receive IIA support and assistance to fund their PoC stage.
IIA’s incubator tracks for “year zero”
“Year zero” grants are awarded in order to fund an initial PoC and knowledge transfers from academia to the company. These grants are provided through three categories of incubator tracks. The incubator tracks relevant to “year zero” are Benefit Track 4 (technological incubators) and Benefit Track 39 (entrepreneurship incubators in peripheral regions).
An entrepreneur interested in a supportive framework for the PoC stage may submit an incubator project proposal to an IIA-approved incubator. If the incubator is interested in the entrepreneur’s proposal, they will then submit a joint application to the IIA for approval of the project through one of the following three frameworks:
- ŸThe first operating period; or
- The second operating period.
Click here for the list of IIA-approved incubators for the PoC stage.
If the IIA committee approves the application, the committee will determine the approved budget and the total award to grant to the applicant entrepreneur.
“Year zero” is the PoC stage, since it precedes the incubator project’s first and second operating periods. As part of “year zero,” the entrepreneur can receive IIA support in the form of a grant of up to 85% of the IIA-approved maximum budget of up to ILS 1.5 million, to be used for the PoC stage, technological validation, and knowledge transfers from a research institute only. The incubator in which the entrepreneur operates will provide supplementary funding of 15% of the approved budget.
An incubator project approved by the committee as a “year zero” PoC project will also be released from the requirement to register as a company prior to commencing activity in the incubator, and will be entitled to only one grant to fund the PoC stage.
“Technological innovation laboratories” track
The IIA operates another track offering a comprehensive assistance package on behalf of innovation laboratories run by leading corporations. The assistance package includes access to unique technological infrastructures, assistance with ascertaining business feasibility, conducting a pilot and identifying marketing channels, exposure to know-how, connections to investors, partners, and customers of the corporation operating the laboratory, and synergies with similar companies accepted into the laboratory.
This track is intended, inter alia, for fledgling entrepreneurs interested in establishing startup companies with global potential and who have a technological idea in one of the same fields as the laboratories operating in this track. The track makes these companies’ unique infrastructure and expertise available to entrepreneurs. This is in order to provide assistance in carrying out the PoC stage and in transforming an idea into a business product.
The “technological innovation laboratories” track applies to four fields:
- Cybersecurity and fintech.
- Environmental protection and sustainability.
- Digital healthcare.
- Bioconvergence, combining the fields of biology and engineering.
This track offers a grant of up to 85% of the IIA-approved budget up to a maximum budget of ILS 1 million. The grant is for an operating period of up to one year. It is also possible to continue receiving a grant of up to 50% of the approved budget up to a maximum budget of ILS 1 million for an additional year of operations.
Click here for the IIA’s list of approved technological innovation laboratories.