A Message from the Executive Director
As the Global Alliance South Carolina (GASC) enters 2020, we do so having built momentum across each of the key elements of our mission. Over the past 12 months we have:
- Engaged research, business and economic development stakeholders across the state of South Carolina to develop a tailored referral network for attracting high potential businesses from Israel and Estonia to South Carolina;
- Fostered engagements between business leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs in South Carolina with counterparts in Israel and Estonia to create relationships and expand technology-based economic development opportunities;
- Launched binational industry research and development projects between companies in South Carolina and Israel, and between companies in South Carolina and Estonia consistent with the requirements of bilateral collaboration agreements between South Carolina and Israel (2013) and South Carolina and Estonia (2016); and
- Formalized a partnership between GASC and the South Carolina Department of Commerce focused on helping the Department formulate and implement an economic development strategy centered on innovative small and medium-sized businesses.
In this issue we highlight progress in several of these key mission areas, including a GASC-sponsored delegation trip to Israel, support for a visit to Columbia by the Estonian Ambassador to the United States, stakeholder engagement events in Columbia and Charleston, updates on the ongoing South Carolina-Israel and South Carolina-Estonia industry R&D projects, and highlights for two new initiatives through which GASC will expand and deepen our connection to the citizens of South Carolina.
If you are aware of a business or researcher interested in becoming directly involved with one or more partners in Israel or Estonia, please let us know and we will facilitate initial connections. Alternatively, if you are interested in becoming a sponsor or in other ways supporting our program of work, we would welcome such a discussion.
Finally, after a year of coordinating critical start-up activities for the Global Alliance South Carolina (GASC), including helping establish the mission and vision for the organization, developing a strategic business plan, and engaging stakeholder groups across the state of South Carolina, Ambassador Jim Melville will now focus his full attention on growing the College of Charleston’s portfolio of activities in his role as Associate Dean for International & Community Outreach in the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs.
Global Alliance South Carolina appreciates the time and commitment Ambassador Melville provided to the organization, and we wish him every success with the international activities at the College.
From January 25-30, 2020, GASC hosted a 12-person delegation to Israel for a dynamic series of business, research and cultural experiences. For delegation leader Jonathan Zucker, this was the 7th time he has brought a group of business executives and research leaders to Israel to learn about opportunities for binational collaborations in the Cyber, IT, medical, bioscience, transportation, and clean tech industry sectors.
Trip participants experienced a rich and diverse agenda of meetings, briefings and cultural activities, including:
- Meetings with the leadership of the Israel Innovation Authority, Rambam Medical Center, the Trendlines Incubator and the Weizmann Institute of Science;
- Meetings with researchers at Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University and the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology);
- Meetings with leading innovation commercialization companies in the biomedical, mobility and cyber/IT technology domains, including participation in the CyberTech Tel Aviv Conference, the cyber industry’s foremost business-to-business networking platform;
- Cultural experiences that included touring the Old City of Jerusalem and Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum), and visiting the ancient city of Arad and the port cities of Jaffa and Caesarea.
The overarching theme for the week was to introduce the participants to the business climate and methodologies employed by Israel in its widely-acclaimed success as the “startup nation,” where innovators and entrepreneurs are developing leading-edge technologies for the 21st Century.
In all, the trip was a 5-day whirlwind of activities from the Mediterranean Sea to the mountains overlooking Jordan and the Dead Sea, to desert towns, to the fertile “bread basket” that produces an amazing array of fruits, vegetables and grains across all of the group’s in-country meals. Participants came away from the trip with a universal appreciation for what Israel offers on a business and personal level. “This was the best international trip I have ever been on,” said Vanessa Goeschl, Managing Director, European Office, South Carolina Department of Commerce.
On January 9, 2020, Estonian Ambassador to the US, Jonatan Vseviov traveled to Columbia for a series of meetings with South Carolina government, research and private sector leaders. The Ambassador’s itinerary included meetings with South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, and Laura Corder and Tia Nelson of the SC Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation, lunch with the Columbia World Affairs Council, and concluded with a meeting at the University of South Carolina.
The aim of the Ambassador’s visit was to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Estonia and the State of South Carolina, exchange views on transatlantic cooperation on security and trade, and to discuss possibilities for further cooperation between the principal universities in Estonia and universities in South Carolina.
Reflecting on his visit, Ambassador Vseviov noted, “Eight years ago Estonia opened the Honorary Consulate in Charleston, and our bilateral relations have deepened significantly ever since. Nevertheless, I believe there is a lot of room to expand our cooperation, especially in cyber technologies, but also on trade. Next summer Estonia will host the fifth Three Seas Initiative Summit and the third Three Seas Initiative Business Forum. Three Seas Initiative is an opportunity to improve the economic cooperation and infrastructure on the north-south axis of Europe, and as the United States is a key partner of the Three Seas Initiative, we see an opportunity not only to strengthen the transatlantic ties through the Initiative, but also to attract more U.S. and also South Carolina’s investments to the Central and Eastern European region.”
A critical factor in enabling GASC to fulfill its mission is developing and sustaining relationships with key research, government and economic development organizations within South Carolina whose operations are aligned with ours. Collectively, these stakeholder organizations provide an important source of two-way communication with GASC to maximize the chance the right resources can be brought to bear at the right place and time in helping recruit innovative companies to South Carolina.
A key method by which GASC develops and sustains these relationships is through information briefings we provide to like-minded groups across the state. Since our last newsletter was published in August 2019 we have engaged the Columbia World Affairs Council on August 27, 2019, and the Charleston Women in International Trade on September 10, 2019. In both events, the GASC staff presented an overview of our mission and examples of how we are accomplishing that mission by engaging students, faculty, researchers, economic developers and business leaders, and connecting them with counterparts in Israel and in Estonia.
GASC plans to continue these stakeholder meetings in 2020 to refresh relationships and to promote opportunities for South Carolinians to participate in upcoming research and business delegation trips to Estonia (potentially August-September, 2020) and to Israel (potentially January, 2021).
What's Next for GASC?
Over the past year GASC has hosted several high level government officials and business leaders to talk about Israel and Estonia. We will now bring the opportunity to meet and learn from such dignitaries to you through the 2020 Speaker Series. These will be luncheon events with subject matter experts – such as Ambassadors, CEOs and other international trade specialists. It is your chance to meet such leaders in an intimate setting and learn about the business climates in Israel, Estonia and South Carolina. The events kick off in July and the first speaker and location will be announced soon.
Sponsorships Available: $250 (for the series, $100 for each event). For more information, email Pennie Bingham: email@example.com
Over the past year as we have begun spreading the word of GASC’s mission throughout South Carolina, many of you have expressed interest in “being a member.” To provide a mechanism to engage with our activities, meet other like-minded state leaders, and receive discounts for participation in GASC-sponsored events, we are launching a GASC Membership initiative.
Membership categories and benefits are listed below. To secure your membership, or receive further information, please contact Pennie Bingham at firstname.lastname@example.org.