The head of the Rhein-Main D-I-W G office and partner of the law firm GvW Graf von Westphalen, Christian Kusulis, welcomed the guests and gave an overview of the economic relationships between the two countries. The general consul of the State of Israel, Dr. Dan Shaham, then introduced Helge Eikelmann as the new representative of the general consulate for Frankfurt. The 36-year old has been involved for many years especially in the area of German-Israeli economic relations and was responsible as the head of the national office in Munich for the D-I-W from 2008 to 2015. “We want to further intensify the good relationships of Israel and Hessia with Helge Eikelmann,” said General Consul Dr. Shaham when welcoming him. “There are many connections for both sides, be it in the economy, art and culture or in social matters. We will become even more active here in order to bring people together.”
Helge Eikelmann presented important projects at the meeting which the General Consulate would like to implement in Hessia. This includes the “New Kibbutz” program which gives young students an internship in start-up companies in Israel. This program is supposed to be presented in the near future at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and the Technical University Darmstadt. There is also supposed to be a “Hessian Israeli Partnership Accelerator” (HIPA) which will focus on business founders of both countries in the areas of cyber security and fintech. “I am looking forward to the new responsibilities. There is close, well-functioning cooperation in many areas which we can use as a basis. “I will devote considerable effort to successfully implementing the projects,” said Helge Eikelmann.
“I am pleased that the D-I-W has become established in the Rhein-Main region through events and specific support for projects as an important partner in developing German-Israeli relations” added Christian Kusulis.
Israel has made headlines as a start-up nation in recent years. Many large German corporate groups have a presence in Israel and are looking for innovations, for example, Siemens and Bosch which announced in December 2015 that they were opening developer centers in Israel. Telekom has already operated an accelerator for many years which is associated with the Ben Gurion University in Ber’sheva, and Merck Serono has a Bio-Incubator. Other companies having innovation scouts in Israel.
The current economic numbers show that there is still more potential for trade between the two sides. The most important matters in the Israeli start-up scene today are fintech, cyber security and big data, issues which are important also for companies in Germany and in which there are a large number of possibilities for cooperation.
The General Consulate of the State of Israel, together with the City of Frankfurt and also the German-Israeli Business Association consider an important task to be jointly providing information on this potential and building bridges.