Inventorswield their big ideas
to spot the hazardous presence of water inside fuel tanks in aircraft; and a product that enables small children and physically challenged people to put toothpaste easily on a toothbrush.
“We are used to seeing the ‘manufactured in China’ label. But if we had an ‘invented in’ label, Israel would win a gold medal in that category,” insists Schnaider, the founder and co-manager of the Israel Centre for Inventors by the Schnaider Method.
A recent analysis ranked Israel third in the world in the number of new technology patents in relation to population. The country is famous for high-tech innovations such as the USBkey, instant-messaging software ICQ, and the camera-in-a-pill.
But all is not rosy, warns Tzahi Apeloig, a representative of the Dan David Foundation, which supports innovative technology. “If the state will not help young entrepreneurs move forward, nothing will advance,” he says. According to Apeloig, “the obstacles are unimaginable. State budgets are minor or non-existent and the banks are huge hurdles.”
“The state of Israel understands the needs of inventors, but support can usually be given for a finished product through our ministry,” counters Shimon Yifrach, special economic adviser to the Minister of Industry. “We have to connect the existing inventions to the existing industry.”
Schnaider hopes that uniting inventors, industrialists and buyers can create a huge industry. “Jews all over the world should invest their money and connections in fostering human capital in Israel,” he says. “We need agriculture of brains.”