GASC Summer 2019 Newsletter

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A Message from the CEO/President, Jim Melville

Jim Melville Photo

When Global Alliance South Carolina co-founder Harry Huge invited me to consider moving to Charleston and joining GASC after my diplomatic career ended, I had only a vague idea of what this work entailed, but I saw tremendous potential for continued public service of a wholly different nature.  That is the way I see GASC’s mission – as a public service to citizens of South Carolina and our friends in Estonia and Israel, to build networks and partnerships in business, research, and academic institutions as an independent way to deepen mutual understanding and economic opportunities.   In GASC, Harry and co-founder Jonathan Zucker envisioned and created a very special organization that serves as a great means to “do good by doing good.” South Carolina’s marquee manufacturers and long-established businesses do not need our help to find investors and international partners and collaborators.  But there is a whole world of potential in start-ups and in the entrepreneurial energy that can be found all across our state.  Our first-class academic and research institutions can also benefit from GASC’s network in the vibrant and cutting edge world of research and technology in Estonia and Israel.  It’s all about bringing people together and seeing the amazing things that can be done with the right partners.

This past year has been about establishing a rhythm – and through our outreach to organizations throughout South Carolina, the Linking Leaders Conference in Charleston and GASC delegation trips to Israel and Estonia, and visits here by Estonian and Israeli leaders, we are well on our way.  This newsletter will provide a terrific overview of exactly what we have been doing and what we seek to accomplish.  If you like what you see, fantastic!   If you want to participate either through attending one of our events in South Carolina or by joining one of the next delegation trips to Israel or Estonia, even better.  Best of all would be allowing us to help you find an international partner to work on solving a challenge together, and applying for a one of our Research and Development Project Awards.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or in other ways you can support our work, the entire GASC team stands ready to assist.  Thanks for your time and I hope our first newsletter sparks further engagement!

What's Been Happening with GASC

GASC Senior Leaders Travel to Israel

Bahai Gardens overlooking the Port of Haifa

Israel’s entrepreneurial energy is world-renowned.  Often referred to as the “startup nation,” Israel is a leader in converting innovation and intellectual property into fast-growth companies.  Because it is a small nation with a limited market, Israel is a leading exporter of intellectual capital and companies.

GASC Board Vice Chair Jonathan Zucker, President/CEO James Melville and Executive Director Russ Keller traveled to Israel from 23-28 March 2019 to refresh relationships and identify new opportunities as GASC begins planning efforts to lead a delegation of South Carolina business, research and government leaders to Israel in early 2020.  The week-long agenda included a broad array of meetings and briefings, including:

  • Meetings with Israeli Government officials (Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israel Innovation Authority);
  • Meetings with university and affiliated research officials (Hadassah Medical Center, Rambam Medical Center, Weizmann Institute, Ben Gurion University, Cyber Ben Gurion Innovation Labs);
  • Meetings with / presentations by several high-impact Israeli entrepreneurial companies; and
  • Meetings with well-established Israeli companies, including several investment firms and technology incubators

Since the South Carolina – Israel Research and Business Collaboration launched in 2011 there have been 6 delegation trips to Israel, each comprised of nearly two dozen participants.  These trips have focused on building collaborations in six technology domains where there is significant overlap of interests and capabilities between South Carolina and Israel.  These six areas are:

  • Biomedical / Life Sciences
  • Advanced Materials
  • Sustainable Energy / Water / Agriculture Systems
  • Transportation (Aerospace / Automotive)
  • Defense / Homeland Security
  • Insurance / Health Information Technology

In addition to a very full agenda of “business” activities on these trips, the itinerary always includes some time for cultural and historical sightseeing (e.g., Old City of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum), Bahai Gardens, Caesarea, etc.).

Watch for the announcement and call for registration for the next GASC-sponsored delegation trip to Israel, which should be released in the early fall.

Linking Leaders 2019 Conference

A Forum for Global Prosperity

On April 7-9, 2019, Global Alliance South Carolina was proud to host the inaugural Linking Leaders Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, USA.  About 50 business, government and economic development leaders from Estonia, Israel and South Carolina gathered to cultivate and broaden strategic relationships for research collaborations, business partnerships and economic growth.

With a focus on technology-based opportunities, participants gained an understanding of the strengths of this arena in Estonia and Israel, and how they align with such activities and pro-business support systems in South Carolina.

Attendees heard from, and connected with, several speakers, including:  South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, senior officials from Israel and Estonia, heads of the principal regional Economic Development organizations in South Carolina and senior executives in medical/health care and cyber/IT technology domains from South Carolina, Estonia and Israel.

Linking Leaders was such a success (95% reported “making valuable connections”) that attendees asked GASC to make this an annual event.  As a result the GASC Team is now planning the second annual Linking Leaders Conference, tentatively scheduled for the first week of May 2020.

Photo of Oliver Vaartnoa, CEO Cybernetica, Estonia; Oliver Rätsep, Enterprise Estonia; Ayal Lanternari, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Nanobébé; Harry Huge, GASC Chairman; Rami Efrati, Brigadier General (Res.) Israel Defense Force; Bobby Hitt, SC Secretary of Commerce; Jonathan Zucker, GASC Vice-Chairman; Jonatan Vseviov, Estonian Ambassador to the US; Russ Keller, GASC Executive Director; Jim Melville, GASC President/CEO
Left to Right: Oliver Vaartnoa, CEO Cybernetica, Estonia; Oliver Rätsep, Enterprise Estonia; Ayal Lanternari, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Nanobébé; Harry Huge, GASC Chairman; Rami Efrati, Brigadier General (Res.) Israel Defense Force; Bobby Hitt, SC Secretary of Commerce; Jonathan Zucker, GASC Vice-Chairman; Jonatan Vseviov, Estonian Ambassador to the US; Russ Keller, GASC Executive Director; Jim Melville, GASC President/CEO

Network Globally, Act Locally Conducts Fifth International Pitch Competition

Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL™) is an annual international pitch competition sponsored by the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation in partnership with the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the College of Charleston and The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. This international entrepreneurial program brings together students from each of the partnering colleges to create solutions for social and commercial challenges.

NGAL™ V was held in June 2019 in Estonia and Charleston, South Carolina. The student teams from five universities came together to pitch their ideas at The Citadel in Charleston after having spent two weeks together traveling internationally, connecting with business professionals, coaching each other’s pitches, and finally presenting their ideas to a panel of distinguished judges.

The top three teams were awarded $6,000 in prize money to help fund their business concepts. The first place competition winner was CompAct, a software platform guiding large companies in Estonia on ways to make their offices more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Second place, also based in Estonia, was ZoomX, an eyeglass, controlled via mobile app, which allows the user to continuously adjust focus on the objects in multiple focus levels, reducing the need for multiple pairs of glasses.  The third place recipient was Neighbor App, a mobile application that uses peer-to-peer technology to sync travelers with local, authentic tour guides.

Planning is underway for NGAL VI, which is scheduled for June 2020.   Tal Tech and Tartu will host the first week In Estonia, with final pitch presentations taking place in Lincoln, NE at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

GASC Leads South Carolina Delegation Visit to Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is Northern Europe’s vibrant hub for knowledge-based, technology-driven business.  Estonia’s smart, ambitious workforce, digital expertise and particular focus on the high-growth cybersecurity industry fuel the nation’s forward-thinking business environment.

In support of its mission, GASC organizes and executes week-long visits to Estonia each year, taking delegations of South Carolina research professors, entrepreneurs and government officials to meet with counterparts in Estonia.  The most recent delegation, comprised of 12 South Carolinians, traveled to Estonia from 24-29 June 2019.

The itinerary for the Estonia trip included meetings and briefings with the leadership of the Estonian Ministry of Economics, the staff at Estonia’s two principal research universities (Tallinn University of Technology and the University of Tartu), NATO’s Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, several of the largest cyber and information technology firms, and a number of small, innovative companies seeking partnerships that could lead to their expansion of operations into North America (ideally in South Carolina).

During the visit the delegation was honored to host a dinner with Arnold Ruutel, who served as the last Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian Soviet Socialist, and who later became the third President of Estonia after Estonia secured its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.  President Ruutel shared stories of how 4 Estonian leaders and one American advisor created Estonia’s “government in waiting” in the late 1980s when it appeared there may be an opportunity to break away from Soviet control.  The American advisor in this group of 5 was GASC co-founder Harry Huge, who today serves as an honorary Consul to South Carolina from the Republic of Estonia.

The next GASC-sponsored delegation trip to Estonia is being planned for the late summer / early fall of 2020.

Collaboration Corner


GASC Awards Funding for First SC-Estonia Industry R&D Project

GASC and Enterprise Estonia recently announced the award recipient from the first round of South Carolina – Estonia bilateral project proposals.  This project is a result of the collaborative industrial research and development program established in April 2016 between the Government of the State of South Carolina and the Government of the Republic of Estonia.

The current project award will focus on developing a ticket and data authentication capability for on-line secondary ticket markets to increase stakeholder data transparency and provide assurances that tickets are real and that their owners are authorized to transfer them.  Ticket fraud is a $2.3 billion problem in the $30 billion ticketing industry.  When deployed, this capability will reduce fraud while improving visibility for event organizers into the individuals who attend their events.

The project team, consisting of BandwagonFanClub Inc. of Greenville, SC., and Cybernetica AS of Tallinn, Estonia, plans to complete its development effort during a 24-month period of performance.

“When we started building our solution, we knew that there would be global applications for our technology,” said Harold Hughes, Founder & CEO of Bandwagon.  “We’re excited to partner with Cybernetica to deliver an innovative commercial solution solving a problem that directly affects fans and impacts businesses.  Being able to build and deliver here in South Carolina truly shows the opportunities that exist for emerging tech companies here in the Palmetto state.”

Established in 2000, Enterprise Estonia promotes business and regional policy in Estonia and is one of the largest institutions within the national support system for entrepreneurship by providing financial assistance, counseling, cooperation opportunities and training for entrepreneurs, research institutions, and the public and non-profit sectors.

GASC and Enterprise Estonia anticipate launching the next call for proposals in 2020.


Ongoing SC-Israel Industry R&D Project Will Improve Identity Verification

Last summer GASC and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) awarded the fifth bilateral project under the collaborative industrial research and development program established in October 2013 between the Government of the State of South Carolina and the Government of the State of Israel.  The first four projects were awarded between September 2014 and August 2016.

The active project focuses on developing a pocket-sized identity verification device that combines multi-biometric and smart-card capabilities for use in security and defense, border control, national identification, point-of-sale and public safety applications.  The challenge this project addresses is the need to provide certified identity verification services at remote, off-grid, or mobile locations where little or no supporting infrastructure is available, and to provide these services with the same level of quality available at centralized locations (commercial or government departments) that have complex and complete technical infrastructure.

The project team, consisting of Integrated Biometrics, LLC, of Spartanburg, SC., and SBS Biometric Solutions of Haluzh, Israel, plans to complete its development effort during an eighteen-month period of performance that will conclude early in 2020.

“We’re extremely pleased to be part of this great GASC/IIA program, and to be working with SBS Biometrics Solutions on innovative new technologies for the biometric identification and enrollment sector,” said Stephen Thies, CEO of Integrated Biometrics. “We’re confident this project will yield cutting-edge products that will meet important, existing needs for biometric sensors for a growing global market.”

The Israel Innovation Authority, formerly known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy (and as MATIMOP), is an independent and impartial public entity that operates for the benefit of the Israeli innovation ecosystem.  Its mission includes connecting the Israeli economy with the global innovation industry, including initiating and establishing international agreements with countries and multinational corporations relating to international cooperation in R&D and innovation.

GASC and IIA anticipate launching the next call for proposals in 2020.


Matchmaking to Facilitate Collaborations with Israeli and Estonian Companies and Researchers

GASC is supporting South Carolina companies and academic organizations seeking research and business partners in Israel and Estonia.  We understand the challenges involved with identifying collaboration partners seven time zones away.  We are here to help.  If you are interested in finding a potential research or business partner that shares your interests, please visit the “Partner Search” section of the GASC website or contact GASC Executive Director Russ Keller at or 843-760-4358.

The following table summarizes organizations in Estonia and Israel who are seeking partners in South Carolina:

Company Name Country Technology Domain Company Profile or Website
Krabu Grupp LLC Estonia IT analysis and software development
CELL 112 OÜ Estonia Cloud-based, integrated software/hardware security solutions for buildings and facilities
Cybernetica Estonia Cyber security for cryptography and situational awareness
Iluum ME Sisustus OÜ Estonia Nordic walking poles and equipment
Mooncascade OÜ Estonia Product development and data science
STELFF NORDIC OÜ Estonia Manufacture instruments and appliances for measuring, testing and navigation, encrypted communication
Timbeter Ltd Estonia AI based solution for quick and accurate timber measurement, data and logistics
Challengy Israel Innovation Processes
Cynerio Israel Securing the Internet of Medical Things

For South Carolina companies seeking partners in either Estonia or Israel, please contact GASC Executive Director Russ Keller at or 843-760-4358.

Partner and Investor Showcase

Lowcountry Sponsorships Facilitate Successful International Conference

Global Alliance South Carolina appreciates those people and organizations supporting our mission.  In 2019, they enabled us to develop and execute our first Linking Leaders Conference.  One of those supporters was James Ward, Executive Vice President, Scientific Research Corporation.  We recently talked with Mr. Ward about SRC and his involvement with GASC, and share his thoughts with you.

GASC:  Would you provide a brief description of SRC and the work you do in South Carolina?
JW: SRC is a mid-size privately-owned company, with 954 employees based out of North Charleston.  We are a principal cyber engineering partner with the U.S. Department of Defense, with a focus on supporting information warfare contracts.  SRC is technology agnostic regarding the best solutions for the warfighter, using open source and open standard technology solutions.

GASC:  Thank you for being a speaker on the Cyber Panel at Linking Leaders.  Your experience with cyber challenges and solutions were insightful.  After attending the Linking Leaders Conference, what was most valuable to you?
JW:  It reinforced and solidified that innovation comes from leveraging the power of the network – and in this case, the global network.  That forward leaning governments can inspire economic prosperity.  Mostly I witnessed from both Estonia and Israel the power of the scrapper factor.

GASC:  Thank you also for being a sponsor of Linking Leaders.  How does your support of this event, and GASC, align with the activities of SRC?
JW:  In theory it aligns perfectly.  By working together our countries can become more capable, resilient and stronger.  In reality, there are barriers that need to be assessed and overcome because of the policy complexity of DoD working with foreign entities. The work of GASC, including having events like Linking Leaders, can provide attention to paths to reduce those barriers.

GASC thanks all supporters of Linking Leaders 2019: HOSTS AND TITLE SPONSORS Harry & Reba Huge Foundation The InterTech Group DINNER SPONSOR College of Charleston LUNCH SPONSOR Womble Bond Dickinson BREAKFAST SPONSOR Scientific Research Corporation SUPPORTERS Bank of South Carolina The Citadel’s School of Humanities and Social Science

Investor opportunities with GASC

As a non-profit, Global Alliance South Carolina, relies on corporate and private support to advance its mission of creating opportunities for education, research and business collaborations.  There are several ways to support this endeavor that provide engagement with GASC and showcase your patronage.

To work with experts in Estonia and Israel to solve business problems:

– An RFP for a customized project
– Exclusive for a company/organization
– Multi-media recognition with all activities related to project

– Multi-media recognition for all projects within a business sector

– Multi-media recognition for one project

To engage with GASC for international events/meetings:

– Opportunity for Ex-Officio Board Member appointment

All Global Investors receive recognition at, and at least one registration to, all GASC international delegation events and meetings, plus discounts to at least one international trip per year.

To participate and be showcased at Linking Leaders Conference, Delegation Trips to Estonia and Israel, or South Carolina Speaker Series:

– Exclusive to one company
– Opportunity to provide a subject expert speaker at one event
– Exclusive to one company per business sector
– Opportunity to provide a subject expert speaker at one event
– Opportunity to introduce a speaker at one event

All Event Sponsors receive at least one registration to one event, name in program, and other benefits customized to the event.

For availability and details on benefits and pricing for each category, please contact:
Pennie Bingham

What’s Next for GASC

August 2019      

  • 27 GASC Midlands Stakeholder Meeting
    Palmetto Club, Columbia 

September 2019

  • 10 GASC Presentation to Charleston Women in International Trade
    Crowne Plaza, North Charleston

January 2020

  • 26-30 South Carolina Research and Business Delegation Trip to Israel

Dates tentative

February 2020

  • GASC Upstate Stakeholder Meeting
    Date TBD

May 2020

  • 3-5 Linking Leaders 2020 Conference
    Dates tentative

August/September 2020

  • South Carolina Research and Business Delegation Trip to Estonia
    Dates TBD

Details for these events will be posted and updated on the GASC website

Contact Us

General Information:

Mailing Address
Global Alliance South Carolina
25 East Battery Street
Charleston, SC  29401

Principal Points of Contact:

GASC President and CEO
Ambassador Jim Melville

GASC Executive Director
Russ Keller

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