Maryland has launched a new pilot training program designed to help Israeli health startups expand their companies to the state.
MarketReach America will bring 15 to 20 companies in the medical device and digital health sectors from Israel to Maryland for two weeks of training in May of next year. They will learn about breaking into the U.S. market by working with medical institutions and federal research and regulatory agencies.
The end goal is for the entrepreneurs to open an office in Maryland and continue the pipeline of companies coming here from Israel, said Barry Bogage, executive director of the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC). They would join the more than 30 Israeli companies already operating in the state.
“This accelerator program combines the benefit of both nations, providing Israeli medical entrepreneurs and startups with a clear understanding of market demands and requirements in preparation for a later stage entry and sales in the U.S. market,” said Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, in a release.
MIDC will run the accelerator program and is also a partial funder along with the Maryland Department of Commerce, University of Maryland, Baltimore and the Israel Innovation Authority. The Abell Foundation is also providing a grant.
Each organization contributed $50,000, Bogage said, toward the total $250,000 cost of the pilot program.
Participating companies will be chosen by a selection committee at the end of January 2019 after a competitive application process. Bogage said the committee is looking for companies in the “sweet spot” — large enough and experienced enough to soon be able to expand to Maryland, but not so large that it has already entered the market.
The entrepreneurs will be introduced to potential customers, distributors, technology experts and industry leaders. They will also learn how to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in White Oak, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Woodlawn and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
University of Maryland, Baltimore will connect the companies to experts at the university who have knowledge relevant to the companies’ technologies. The top three companies will receive one year of free office space in the university’s BioPark.
The program is the next in a series of efforts by Maryland and Gov. Larry Hoganto strengthen business connections between Israel and the state. The Middle Eastern country has become a center for biotechnology and cybersecurity similar to Maryland.
Hogan traveled to Israel as recently as 2016 in an effort to attract more overseas businesses. That resulted in at least one new company, manufacturing firm ELTA North America, opening a new headquarters in Annapolis Junction and selecting Maryland as the home of its new Cyber Innovation Center. ELTA is a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, designs and manufactures radar and other electronic systems.
“Over the past four years, our administration has worked hard to further strengthen the robust cultural and economic ties between Maryland and Israel,” said Hogan in a release. “This new binational business training program is a great example of the kind of collaboration and partnership we strive to achieve to boost trade, foster entrepreneurship, and build on our long and proud shared history.”