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L-R: David Barnard, President University of Manitoba; Premier Greg Selinger; and Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, President The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

L-R: David Barnard, President University of Manitoba; Premier Greg Selinger; and Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, President The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Rami Kleinmann


Partnerships between Hebrew U and U of M, Premier Praises Jewish Federation, Weinberg opens offices in Tel-Aviv

By Rhonda Spivak, October 19, 2010

Israel and Manitoba concluded agreements on commercial business development, agriculture, water and ecotourism, which was highlighted by a signing ceremony at the Knesset led by Premier Greg Selinger and Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Silvan Shalom on October 13.,2010

"These agreements help build on the already strong relationship between Manitoba and Israel," said Selinger, in a statement.  "Our shared knowledge and talent can help improve the lives of Manitobans and Israelis by addressing some of our common challenges."

The commercial business development agreement was signed between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba regarding the marketing of innovative ideas.

As Rami Kleinmann, executive director of the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, who was at the signing ceremony in Jerusalem told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, “ When, for example, a scientist develops an idea, you must take this idea, which is the intellectual property of the scientist and register it and find markets for it. Hebrew University is in the top ten in the world for taking academic knowledge and marketing it, a process known as transfer technology.”

Kleinmann explained that Yissum Research Development Company is an arm’s length corporation of The Hebrew University, which has extensive expertise in developing and identifying technologies suitable for commercialization.  

“Under the agreement, the University of Manitoba will be working with Yissum to identify technologies produced by the U of M that are suitable for commercialization,” said Kleinman .

Yissum currently has over 6,000 patents under license, and in 2009, products using Yissum licensed technology generated over $1 billion in global revenues and returned approximately $50 million in revenue to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The partnership agreement will enable teams of MBA students from the University of Manitoba to work with Yissum and the developers of a chosen technology   to develop a proposed venture and prepare a business plan to bring this venture to reality.   

Plans prepared by University of Manitoba Asper Business School students have already resulted in the development of over two dozen companies, including one on the TSX, that have a net worth in excess of $200 million.

“The goal is to use the experience gained preparing plans for the Yissum technologies to develop the next generation of managers for Manitoba’s technology-based companies,” said Kleinmann.

The long term goal is to develop teams consisting of students from both institutions to work on the development and presentation of the proposed ventures. Under the program,  Manitoba students  will gain  real world experience, by entering various competitions hosted by major universities around North America as part of the Venture Labs Investment Competition series sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin.  In 2010, four technology-based companies from these competitions were sold for approximately $200 million. 

Under the agreement, the Province of Manitoba has committed three years of funding to the program and they are to be joined by the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University.  

Another agreement signed between Israel and Manitoba will enable scientists in to share expertise on cutting-edge agricultural research, and a further agreement will enable Manitoba and Israel to work together on the sharing and development of technology designed to improve water quality and stewardship.
“These agreements include agricultural and water related research that has been ongoing for some time between the Hebrew University and the University of Manitoba, “said Klienmann . There is also ongoing work being done in this area between  Ben-Gurion University and the University of Manitoba.

"The agreements signed today will enable the further sharing of knowledge on issues surrounding both water quality and agricultural research," said Dr. David  Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, in a statement.

Premier Selinger praised the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg for helping forge strong and productive links between Manitoba and Israel as he wrapped up his five-day mission to Israel.
"Our warm reception and our productive meetings in Israel were only possible because of the hard work of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg," the Premier said in a statement.. "This organization helps build Manitoba's reputation as a province that is warm, generous and always open to new people, new ideas and new opportunities." 

"The fruits of our labour are a direct result of work by organizations such as the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, which
has built the foundation for a strong and productive relationship between Manitoba and Israel,"  Christine Melnick, Manitoba Minister of Water Stewardship said in a statement. 

During the mission, the Premier and Paul Hunt, Canada's ambassador to Israel [who follows former Winnipegger Jon Allen in this position], co-hosted a reception following the opening night of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's (RWB) 70th anniversary tour of Israel. The event included mission representatives, Israeli business people and dignitaries, and former Manitobans who now reside in Israel.
"The RWB company is comprised of outstanding cultural ambassadors to our province and the performance and reception provided an opportunity to showcase Manitoba hospitality," the premier said.

"I also want to thank Winnipeg's Pavilion Investment House for sponsoring the event."

The CEO of Pavillion Investment House, a Winnipeg-based holding company of financial services firms is Marty Weinberg. Weinberg opened the Pavillion Investment House’s Tel-Aviv office while the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg’s mission was in Israel.

Weinberg told the Winnipeg Free Press that Israel is an attractive place for his company because Israel’s institutional investors have been increasing their allocation to international markets in recent years.

“The international expansion is one of the fastest-growing asset classes in the market,” he said. “The governor of the Israel central bank has been encouraging pension managers to diversify out of the country. We’re trying to help them diversify into international markets more efficiently.”

In related news,  a dedication ceremony for A Park for Peace in Jaffa also occured during the Mission of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, For more on this, click here. 

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.