Yokneam’s Startup Ecosystem Landscape

Yokneam’s proximity to two major universities: Technion and the University of Haifa and its location at the crossroads between northern Israel and the major urban areas of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem are certainly some of the reasons why this city developed so much in recent years. The tax benefits and investment grants associated with its status as a “National Priority Area A” and the lower cost of housing all worked together to attract Israel’s highest concentration of R&D companies outside of Tel-Aviv and give it the nickname of Startup Village.

The municipality of Yokneam offers one of the most inspiring stories of a small town making a strong impact. Just 20 years ago, the city was concerned that the brain drain of local talent would never end. The mayor fought for as many benefits as possible and established a highly advanced technology park against all odds. This led to the production of Yokneam’s first unicorn exit in 2019 (Mellanox, sold to Nvidia for USD 6.9 billion in 2019).

Yokneam is home to a high concentration of companies that develop and design complicated technologies such as medical devices, semiconductors, and network infrastructure. Strategically positioned within 20 minutes of two of the most prestigious universities in Israel: Technicon and Haifa University, Yokneam attracts a young, entrepreneurial and educated population.

Balancing both an entrepreneurial hub paired with good life quality Yokneam is an excellent place for entrepreneurs looking for a unique environment with strong support systems in place and the promise of accessibility and funding.

Overall, this small northern city is an example of how perseverance and innovation can transform a city into a vibrant startup ecosystem.

city during night

Funding opportunities and incentives for entrepreneurs in Yokneam

In addition to the “National Priority A Area” investment grants and tax benefits of up to 20%, funding for startups is readily available in Yokneam. Three startup incubators and three banks are located in Yokneam. To make funding more accessible to companies in the Startup Village area, Israel’s largest bank placed its high-tech investment center for northern Israel in its Yokneam branch.

Startup support facilities, coworking spaces and communities for entrepreneurs:

Yokneam Startup Village – Focused on providing support to small, startup companies in Israel’s fastest growing startup ecosystem. Startup Village Yokneam is Israel’s Alternative High Tech Ecosystem with nearly 150 different companies involved in R&D and roughly USD 7 billion in technology exports annually.

Open Valley – The OpenValley network offers inspirational coworking spaces for entrepreneurs, startups and innovation pioneers, creating co-operations and partnerships through networking and mentoring and providing assistance with business development and funding processes.

Pitch – A coworking space focused on providing entrepreneurs, small businesses and startup companies with comfortable working spaces.

Alon MedTech Ventures – is active in the initiation and growth of young high-tech companies in the medical device arena. Alon MedTech is engaged with novel technologies that improve human well-being and quality of life, focusing on making a difference to the lives of others.

TerraLab Ventures – is an early stage venture capital firm dedicated to partnering with inspiring entrepreneurs to build breakthrough companies. TerraLab invests in emerging and innovative technologies which hold the potential to influence millions of lives. With a strong support program, TerraLab provides support from inception to commercialization.

Youdim Pharmaceuticals – is an innovative pharmaceutical company and incubator inspired by the life achievements and reputation of Prof. Moussa Youdim. Youdim Pharmaceuticals specializes in the development of therapeutic and diagnostic solutions in the areas of neurological disorders and cancer.

CoLab Square – Colab Square provides life-science companies with the entire infrastructure they need in order to start working toward their core R&D objectives. CoLab Square provides companies with support and all the materials necessary for a startup to launch, this includes office spaces, equipment, complementary services, processes and certifications.

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Talent Pool

Northern Israel offers a wealth of new startup opportunities due to its high potential for diversity, reduced labor costs, and special opportunities for tech innovation. The Negev and the Galil had a twofold increase in the number of Israeli residents in 2020 compared to the previous year. The epidemic brought long-lasting changes to corporate culture, removing the need for full-time office labor and removing the pressure on young families to remain in the pricey urban center. At the same time, Israel’s northern tech scene has risen enormously. Northern Israel has developed into the nation’s new technology hub thanks to the sizeable industrial regions in Haifa and Yokne’am as well as the emergence of new agricultural and medical technology innovations. Thanks to this and the migration of new talent, startups now have a rare opportunity to set roots in the North.

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Main Strengths of the Yokneam Startup Ecosystem
    • High concentration of companies that develop technologies requireing longer term R&D, such as medical devices, semiconductors and network infrastructure;

    • Strategically located on all of the main roads connecting all of northern Israel to both Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem;

    • The percentage of academics in Yokneam’s population was second only to Tel Aviv;

    • Multiple time winner of the national Education Award;

    • Multiple time winner of the national Green City award;

    • National Priority Area A;

    • Lower housing prices and higher quality of life;

    • Natural laboratory for new and hybrid technologies;

    • Attracts the seasoned entrepreneurs and technology experts needed for long term R&D;

    • Availability of funding continues to grow with more and more banks and startup incubators opening in Yokneam;

Ecosystem Milestones

Interested in the Yokneam Startup Ecosystem?

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