How DRITA and BIRD Foster US-Israel Collaborations

How DRITA and BIRD Foster US-Israel Collaborations Main Photo

21 Jan 2021


Robust and diverse relationships are a pillar of successful business and the Dayton Ohio region is uniquely positioned on a direct avenue for collaborations with Israel. Dayton Region Israel Trade Alliance (DRITA) is the gateway for access to a local team, representatives in Israel, and matchmaking funding through Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation. On December 16, 2020, DRITA hosted a webinar to explain in detail how BIRD works to benefit local companies and to give an overview of how collaborations with Israel are fostered. As Andrea Yonah, Director of U.S. East Coast/Midwest BIRD Foundation, said about Dayton in the webinar, “I can’t think of a region with any better support.”

In the webinar, Hadas Bar-Or, Dayton Ohio Region Trade Representative to Israel, described how Israel has multinational research and development centers and how the greater Tel Aviv area is home to over 4,000 start-ups, the highest density of start-ups worldwide. She detailed exactly what benefits a collaboration with Israel brings. By tapping into Israeli innovation and breakthrough technologies, businesses can introduce new and improved products to market at lower costs. Furthermore, collaboration promotes increased exports because Israel is a considerable market in specific fields and a gateway to Europe and Asia.

“DRITA promotes BIRD Foundation which provides both matchmaking support between U.S. and Israeli companies, and offers funding covering up to 50 percent of project development and commercialization costs, up to $1 million per project,” said Dan Bish, Specialist, Community and Economic Development Montgomery County.

BIRD Foundation has a local representative, Howard Gudell, and works with companies of all sizes to identify an Israeli partner for projects focused on agriculture, communications, life sciences, electronics, electro-optics, software, homeland and cyber security, renewable and alternative energy, water and other sectors of the hi-tech industry.

BIRD Foundation funding is generated from interest earned on a $110 million Israel-U.S. endowment grant and repayments from successful BIRD projects. Since its inception in 1977, BIRD has approved 1,000 projects and granted $363 million for joint development of innovative technologies and products.

Through a DRITA trade mission, a partnership was cultivated between Sinclair Community College and Simlat, a leading Israeli provider of innovative, next generation training solutions for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Through the collaboration Sinclair created a National Center for UAS Training and Certification and Simlat installed a Multipurpose Advanced Class Training Simulator at the Sinclair UAS Training Facility. DRITA inspired the UAS vision, connected the two entities, accompanied the partnership to the extent needed, and facilitated visits. 

To date, more than $40 million in new opportunities for Dayton region businesses has been created as a result of DRITA activities. BIRD sponsors two cycles of funding per year, with the next one beginning March 1, 2021. 

To learn about first steps and more about how DRITA works through matchmaking, entrepreneurship, education, training, coaching and mentoring to enhance joint ventures contact Gwen Eberly, Economic Development Planning Manager Montgomery County Ohio, at +1-937-776-3017 or A link to the webinar can also be provided.