U.S. homeland security concerns may be a boon for Israeli firms

jerusalem | If there’s one certain growth area for business in the United States, it’s homeland security. The U.S. government is expected to spend some $4 billion of newly allocated funds to secure its borders and to prevent and respond to possible terror attacks and other calamities. And if there’s one industry in which Israel can claim an unmatched degree of expertise and experience it’s — unfortunately — this one.

But matching Israeli know-how in homeland security with the dollars now flowing to it, from governmental contracts and the venture capital backing new companies and research and development, is no simple matter. Funding for homeland security is being distributed through an alphabet soup of governmental departments and agencies on the federal level, as well as via state, county and municipal governments.

Israeli companies may also need or strongly benefit from “strategic partnerships” with American firms already working in this field, both to secure contracts and financing.

One guidepost being offered to Israeli firms trying to navigate their way through the still-uncharted territory of a market completely transformed in the wake of 9/11 is the “MarketReach America” program. It is a joint venture of the nonprofit Maryland/ Israel Development Center and The Trendlines Group, a private marketing consultancy and business development firm based in Misgav.

MarketReach America (www.marketreachamerica.com) aims to “boost the successful market entry of innovative Israeli products and technologies into the American market.” The strategy includes a five-day business development and planning conference in Maryland in March, led and attended by top industry figures; a follow-up program of consulting services and strategic business development planning provided by Trendlines; and a subsequent U.S. “road show” that includes meetings with carefully chosen business prospects and a MarketReach development professional.

Two MarketReach programs held earlier this year were aimed at life sciences-related industries, and information and communications business. The latest program was pitched to a selected group of representatives from local firms connected with homeland security services, at a seminar held recently in Tel Aviv.