Chamber group will visit Israel

By Don Shilling

Included in the trip will be the mayors of Youngstown and Warren.

YOUNGSTOWN — A local delegation of business, education and community leaders is headed to Israel to develop business connections.

The one-week trip begins Friday and was coordinated by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and the Youngstown Area Jewish Foundation.

The chamber has been trying to draw foreign businesses to the area since receiving a $250,000 federal grant last year.

The money is being used to pay the salary of Eric Planey, chamber vice president of international and national business attraction, and for the travel expenses of chamber members who join him on foreign trips.

For this trip, the chamber and Jewish Federation are paying for consultants who are assisting with the mission and for the expenses of Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and Warren Mayor Michael O’Brien. Private companies and Youngstown State University are paying for the expenses of their representatives.

Local officials will meet with Israeli industry, university and government leaders and attend presentations on Israeli and Mediterranean markets.

Planey said the mission will provide access to companies with high-tech manufacturing and innovations in clean technology. Among the possibilities are joint-venture opportunities.

The trip will include site visits and one-on-one meetings with Israeli business incubators.

O’Brien and others who are on the steering committee for a new incubator in Warren are looking for ideas as they focus on creating a home for businesses dedicated to clean energy.

Williams and officials from the Youngstown Business Incubator will meet with several Israeli software companies that are considering expanding into the North American market, the chamber said.

It said the mission also is an opportunity for Youngstown State University to enhance academic, scientific and student exchanges and to promote its focus on advanced materials analysis, metals and metrology.

The chamber said Israel was selected because of its vibrant economy. It said more Israeli companies are listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market than European companies and more venture capital is invested into Israel each year on a per-capita basis than the U.S. and Europe.

Chamber officials took their first overseas trip in November. That trip focused on building business relationships in China and Taiwan.

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