Mayor John Tory’s business mission to Israel has established lasting business connections and has sparked the expansion of companies like Toronto biometric technology firm BioConnect to Israel.

“Our mission allowed us to showcase Toronto's technology and business communities abroad, while exploring how we can better welcome innovation and new ideas at home,” said Mayor Tory. “Together, we have built lasting partnerships with business and government leaders that will further develop Toronto's business presence in Israel.”

“Mayor Tory's mission has allowed our team to learn more about the Israel innovation community and form new partnerships,” said BioConnect Inc. founder and CEO Rob Douglas. “BioConnect will be entering into a strategic partnership with Deloitte Israel to broker an investment into Israeli biometric engineering teams to become BioConnect's second research and development centre.”

During the mission, the Mayor and delegation visited with companies like WeWork, which are already planning their presence in Toronto, and IBM, which is looking to create medical imaging connections between Israel and Toronto's digital health hub at MaRS Discovery District. The delegation also met with Aleph, one of Israel's leading venture capital firms, to encourage the potential expansion of Israeli-based startups interested in Toronto.

“Toronto is home to some incredible companies with talented individuals with world class skills. SecureKey is one of those companies,” said Greg Wolfond, CEO of SecureKey Technologies Inc. “Being able to take our message to other countries, like Israel, and meet senior government officials in cybersecurity is not something we could have done on our own. The mayor's mission helped put SecureKey and other Toronto companies and technologies on the map.”

Throughout the mission, the delegation visited internationally respected incubators and accelerators such as the The Floor, Cyberspark, Technion and the Barclay's Accelerator, as well as meeting with innovative public sector organizations like MATIMOP and Library Tel Aviv.

Tomorrow, Mayor Tory and the City of Toronto delegation will return to Toronto from Israel. The seven-day mission visited Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Haifa and Be'er-Sheva. Mayor Tory met with the mayors of each of those five cities.

The mission also strengthened Toronto's business connections to Montreal, as Mayor Denis Coderre was leading a large delegation for that city during the same time period. The two delegations participated in a number of joint visits and events.

Last Sunday, Toronto and Montreal reaffirmed their cities' connection to the Observatory, which is a platform for shared ideas and collaboration among 35 cities worldwide. Tel Aviv also joined this agreement in partnership with Toronto and Montreal.

The City of Toronto innovation and technology mission focused on strengthening economic relations and increasing bilateral trade and investment in sectors such as fintech (financial technology) and cybersecurity in addition to developing networks among some of Israel's many public and private sector incubators and accelerators.

The mission delegation included City Councillors James Pasternak (Ward 10 York Centre), Josh Colle (Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence) and Christin Carmichael Greb (Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence), alongside almost 50 Toronto business and technology delegates.