Haifa: Scientific and economic dynamism
photonic quasi crystal
Haifa is also a city of sciences. For many people it is a synonym of the Technion, which was created at
the beginning of the XXth century. This worldwide famous institute, surrounded by a green campus,
trains to-morrow's researchers, engineers, teachers, architects and physicians in its 18 faculties. The
students can participate to prestigious projects, such as the launching of a satellite. The number of
publications and patents, and the attribution of the Nobel prize to Professors Hershko and Ciechanover
are an expression of the high level of the scientific research. At the edge of progress, its development is
linked to the growth of the country.
The presence of the Technion is harmoniously complemented by that of the Research and Development
Hi-Tech Center, the MATAM, the Silicon Valley of the Mediterranean. MATAM, an industrial and
scientific park, brings together many Hi-Tech companies, such as Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Philips, Elbit,
Zoran, Qualcom, Google, that recruit a highly qualified work force. Other prestigious R&D institutes
such as Rafael, the Oceanography and Limnology Institute and TAMI are also located in Haifa
This contributes to the high economical level of the city, to the many job offers, and to the quality of the
Haifa University offers since 1964 a quality education in a wide choice of subjects:
law, economics, political and social sciences, literature and languages, art, music, archeology,
psychology, history, mathematics, geography and oceanography.
The Haifa University and the Technion both welcome students gathering from the whole world,
There is also a network of Professional schools, colleges and centers for the study of Torah
The town has started the project the Port Campus for the rehabilitation of the downtown districts that
are close to the sea, projecting the construction and the renovation of old buildings to adapt them to be
colleges and university buildings as well as housing facilities for students. This project will bring a new
strength to this district where the court of justice and the main administrative buildings are situated.
Haifa is also the metropolis for trade and economy in the north of Israel. It combines the dynamism of
a modern city with the tradition of an industry rooted since many years in the region through various
axis of activity:
- continuously growing and dynamic port
-blossoming industrial and commercial activity
-3 medical centers of international reputation : Rambam, Bne Zion and Carmel hospitals, and 2
Looking decisively towards the future, Haifa supports and stimulates initiatives in many domains and
promises to help and ease the implantation of new companies in the city.
Investors and promoters discover Haifa, its many benefits and advantages:
-the high purchasing power of the inhabitants of the town, that have an influence on its economic
-the growth in real estate that enables the acquisition or the renting of Apartments or houses
surrounded by a garden at competitive prices.
-the planned construction of new hotels to allow more visitors and tourists to stay in Haifa
-an ideal setting for congresses and conferences, thanks to the presence of famous academics and
researchers, to the infrastructure and to the touristic possibilities
Intel microprocessor and mercury drop
New immigrants relocate their business in Haifa and contribute to its dynamism
La robe bleue
More than 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered at Tamar well off Haifa coast.
High-tech Haifa: A start-up hub in the old port is a magnet for entrepreneurs
Start-ups in the city tripled in the last year, from 20 to 60, according to the city's new Youth Authority.
Although Haifa's multinational high-tech giants are still a major pull for Technion graduates, many
young trailblazers are landing here.
From Haaretz By Inbal Orpaz 05/28/2013
For most high-tech entrepreneurs in Israel who operate in Tel Aviv or its surroundings, the decision to
move to Haifa to establish a start-up is not a natural choice. For several years now, the northern city has
been identified with Israeli high-tech, but mostly in association with global giants such as Google,
Phillips, Intel, Microsoft and, lately, Apple, rather than with local start-ups. Haifa has produced high-
tech entrepreneurs such as Eyal Gura, who set up several companies and is now an independent partner
in Pitango Venture Capital, and his brother Ron Gura, who set up The Gifts Project which was sold to
eBay. Another example is Shai Wininger, one of the founders of Fiverr. However, all of them opted to
set up business in the country’s center.
Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas are a magnet for young high-tech entrepreneurs, with their
ubiquitous free Wi-Fi internet connection at every café, and where talk of exits – selling out to bigger
multinationals – is all the rage. Funding is also concentrated in Tel Aviv, with its so-called angels
(private investors) and venture capital funds, as well as service providers. Nevertheless, the last two years
have witnessed the appearance of several start-ups in Haifa, which are in no hurry to change their area
code. The initiative is led by entrepreneurs who reside in the north and are fed up with getting on the
train every morning and heading south. In the last few months there has been a flood of events and
conferences taking place in Haifa.
Over the last year there have been numerous accelerators and new initiatives appearing at an impressive
clip. Haifa had only two incubators last year, but since then six new targeted initiatives have sprung up.
There are currently three incubators and two accelerators in Haifa, along with a joint work space for
entrepreneurs, with another one opening soon. The number of related events has risen from two or three
a month to 10, with the number of participants rising from 10-15 to around 60 or more. A third of these
come from outside Haifa, especially from the greater Tel Aviv area.
In short, the numbers speak for themselves: The number of start-ups in the city has tripled in the last
year, from 20 to 60, according to the Youth Authority of the Haifa Municipality.
A mere five minutes’ walk from the central train station is the Port Campus, an area where most of
these initiatives are based. We were welcomed there by Maya Raz, the energetic marketing director of the
Youth Authority at City Hall, who took us to the youth center for the first stop on our visit.
The Haifa Municipality has played a key role in orchestrating the changes in entrepreneurship in the
city. The Youth Authority, devoted to meeting the needs of 13-40 year olds, was established 10 months
ago. It includes a youth center which was set up two years ago near the port, with the assistance of a
Haifa-Boston partnership and of the Joint Distribution Committee Israel. The center serves as a meeting
place for entrepreneurs and provides consultation services, as well as organizing events and workshops.
It serves as an information intersection and connection crossroads for entrepreneurs and their start-ups
in the city.
The projects associated with start-ups are led by Noa Belhassen. She told us that since its inception, the
center has accompanied 20 new start-ups in their development and fundraising. In contrast to other
municipality departments, the walls of the youth center are painted in pastel colors, with transparent
partitions between the rooms. The employees all look to be under 40 – if not much younger.
The awakening of this entrepreneurship coincided with an investment in the renewal of the port area in
Haifa. On our way to the next stop, we see dozens of young people on a break from their studies at one
of the academic institutions which have sprouted up in the area. The whole district is lively with
restaurants and pubs, stores and galleries, as well as student dorms. According to veteran Haifa
residents, the area was a rough and dangerous neighborhood until very recently –a place to avoid. Now,
they say, one can spot tourists walking through the area, coming off the big boats that anchor in the
Not far from there, across the road near Ha’Atzmaut Street, on the ninth floor of Zim House, we visit
the hiCenter business and technology start-up center. This center was established at the initiative of the
municipality following the Second Lebanon War, with government aid flowing to the municipal
economic company. The center is located in a building which is atypical of the port area – a glass-
covered state-of-the-art building that has recently undergone a renovation and left no trace of the
Yael Mittelman, CEO of hiCenter, says that most of the building was empty when they first arrived,
except for some pigeons. It’s hard to imagine that in the same old-fashioned rooms once occupied by
clerks of the national maritime carrier, there now sit young start-up entrepreneurs working on tomorrow’
s technologies, such as shoes that help elderly people maintain their balance, technologies for
transferring information between smart phones and an advanced engine for price comparisons.
Some of these companies are more advanced and have attracted investors while others are still taking
their baby steps. hiTech employees lead us through the rooms, revealing yet other companies and
technologies. As part of the area’s development, prices shot up and the building was purchased by a real
estate investor. The center will therefore soon move to a new location, and will be located in a building
that once housed the National Insurance Institute's offices.
“Start-ups in the very early stages of development try to cut costs on things such as rent and
transportation. Haifa, with its easy access to the center, provides these advantages,” says Mittelman.
However, Haifa-based entrepreneurs that we spoke to said that most students who graduate from the
Technion Israel Institute of Technology prefer to find jobs with the big companies at Matam, the
Scientific Industries Center – a high-tech park – and not with start-ups.