Left to right: Larry Fisher (Lark Group), David Berson (Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Daniel Blumenthal (Centre for Digital Innovation Negev), Dianne Watts (South Surrey-White Rock MP) and Rowena Rizzotti (Health and Technology District). (photo by Yvonne Chiang)
The Health and Technology District in Surrey and the Centre for Digital Innovation in Israel have formalized a number of collaborations on health-related technologies, creating an international network between partners to support health-tech innovations in Israel and across North America.
The Centre for Digital Innovation (CDI) is located in the Advanced Technology Park in Be’er Sheba, Israel, the growing “Silicon Valley” of the Middle East. CDI is a nonprofit created through the collaborative efforts of Israeli entrepreneurs and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. CDI operates in the areas of digital healthcare, healthy aging, education and smart cities, and brings together experienced entrepreneurs, start-up companies, innovators, researchers, industry leaders, academics, the public sector and investors to generate a high return on innovation for the challenges of the 21st century, such as the cost of healthcare and chronic diseases.
“Both CDI and Surrey’s Health and Technology District [HTD] have aggressive goals to drive innovation across the health sector and Canada stands to deeply benefit from the mentorship and leadership that Israel can bring to our innovation agenda here in Canada,” said Rowena Rizzotti, vice-president of health and innovations for HTD.
The memorandum of understanding between HTD and CDI will co-create and share respective solutions to global healthcare challenges by expediting the implementation of innovations in critical healthcare improvements for both countries.
“It’s great to see that Canada and Israel have parallel visions and focus in developing high-level innovations,” said Ziv Ofek, CDI founder and chief executive officer. “We are excited about this partnership with Canada and with the Health and Technology District and we look forward to collaborating and working together to create technologies that will benefit the world in which we live.”
The partnership was finalized during a recent trade mission organized by the Conference Board of Canada, where participants studied the culture and key success factors that have led to Israel’s groundbreaking developments in innovation and commercialization.
“Israel is a hotbed of high-tech innovations and boasts world-class skills and capabilities with universities and forward-thinking organizations developing some of the world’s latest technology breakthroughs,” said Paul Preston, Conference Board of Canada. “It’s hugely beneficial for Canadians to learn from this success and assist us in developing the talent and capacity to lead a culture in innovation in Canada.”
Every year, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) brings more than 100 Canadians to visit and learn firsthand from the “start-up nation,” and has facilitated trips in recent years for the City of Surrey, the Government of British Columbia and the Conference Board of Canada.
“This exciting partnership is a prime example of how, in bringing the best Canadian and Israeli minds together, we can achieve remarkable things for both countries,” said Jason Z. Murray, CIJA Pacific Region chair.
HTD held a celebratory reception on March 23 with CDI and special guests Dianne Watts, member of Parliament for South Surrey-White Rock, Ofek and members of CIJA.
Developed by the Lark Group, a Canadian-based company, HTD is a series of high-tech buildings located immediately adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital, creating an ecosystem for clinicians and health-care providers to work alongside innovators, entrepreneurs and tech companies.