The entrepreneurial spirit has no borders
I recently had the opportunity to join 13 fellow chamber executives from across the country in Israel for a four-day trip, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Under the aegis of the U.S.-Israel Business Initiative, the visit provided the opportunity to learn about Israel’s economy, history and politics; and to meet with top government officials and business leaders. We also met with venture capitalists and scientists, visited American R&D centers, toured Tel Aviv’s unique start-up scene, and saw many of Israel’s historic and religious sites.
What I discovered was a surprising similarity between Israel and Oklahoma City. At first glance that would seem very unlikely, until you remember that both have had to overcome substantial challenges – economic, social and environmental – to even exist. Both have reinvented themselves several times. We share economic sectors such as energy, aviation and technology.
Perhaps the most striking similarity is in the spirit of both populations. Fiercely competitive, resilient, innovative, always willing to go the extra mile to help their neighbors.
We also share a bio-tech offshoot company. XoNovo, one of two new companies to come out of an Israeli biotech incubator, is an Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation spinoff. When an international group takes an Oklahoma project to heart, providing valuable funding and resources, it sends a clear signal that real science is being performed in OKC. When people have good ideas and are determined to succeed, the entire world benefits. And that’s true from Oklahoma City to Israel and back.
Roy H. Williams, CCE
Chamber CEO & President