More than 50 New Zealand business people were in Israel from May 29 to June 1 for the inaugural Innovation Mission from the South Pacific island nation to the Jewish state.

Organized by the Israel Trade Commission and Trans-Tasman Business Circle, the delegation of Kiwi senior executives from the sectors of telecommunications, utilities, agriculture, government, education and training, venture funds and incubators was led by Simon Moutter, CEO of Spark – New Zealand’s largest mobile operator. Sir Peter Gluckman, the New Zealand Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, also took part.

The delegation met with Israeli VCs including JVP and Trendlines, heard from legendary Israeli entrepreneurs such as Dov Moran and Jon Medved, spent a day at Beersheva’s CyberSpark cybersecurity innovation center, and visited Start-Up Nation Central in Tel Aviv, which connects companies and countries to the people and technologies in Israel that can solve their most pressing challenges.

New Zealand and Israel have many similarities, as they are both relatively young, small economies with limited natural resources and a spirit of innovation. The mission was designed as a launch pad for collaborations between the two countries.

The Trans-Tasman Business Circle previously has led several Australian business missions to Israel. Next November, the second annual Israel-Australia Investment Summit will take place in Sydney, Australia under the auspices of the Israel Trade Commission in Australia.