Governor Deval L. Patrick
US-Israel Connected Summit
Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Thank you, Senator Cowan, for kicking us off this morning and good morning everyone. I hope you had a good rest and are ready for one of the most important sessions of our mission to Israel.
I want to acknowledge the Counsul General of Israel in Boston Yehuda Yaacov, who was instrumental in organizing this trip and kind enough to accompany us here.
My friend and partner Avi Hasson, Israel's Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is here this morning. Avi has been a marvelous collaborator in our efforts to invest jointly in commercial innovation here and in Massachusetts, based on an agreement signed as a result of our last official visit in 2011. We'll hear from Avi in a minute, but I am delighted you could be a part of today's summit.
Let me thank all the members of the delegation who are with us today and all of our guests for being here. I know from prior experience that this is not the preferred time of day for such a gathering, but we are keen to make the most of our limited time in country and appreciate that so many have expressed an interest in joining in the discussion.
It’s a great pleasure for me to be with you here. Thank you for the warm welcome and the incredible hospitality that everyone has shown our delegation.
Our delegation has come to Israel to refresh and renew a relationship that is important to us. We established and have cultivated a number of commercial collaborations during and since our mission in 2011 that have been meaningful and beneficial on both sides, and simply want to build on that success.
Today in particular we are looking forward to engaging on how you are meeting the challenges we all face in neuroscience, eHealth, medical device development and manufacture, and "the internet of things," and we hope to share the lessons we have learned and are still learning in each of these critical fields.
Represented here today are leaders in state and local government, industry, financial services and education to discuss how better to collaborate to strengthen and grow the Massachusetts and Israeli innovation economies. The panels, and your participation in the discussions they will drive, are the main events today, so I will be brief. At the outset, I want to offer a few words about our growth strategy in Massachusetts and how Israel has played, and will continue to play, an important role in it – as context for today's gathering.
For nearly 8 years, our growth strategy in Massachusetts has focused on education, innovation and infrastructure.
We invest in education because brainpower is our most abundant resource. There are over 300 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals within a 90-minute drive of downtown Boston, an unusual concentration of knowledge. In many ways, education is as important to Massachusetts as oil is to Texas or corn is to Iowa. So, we cultivate it by investing money, time and new ideas in the public schools; in public higher education and college affordability; and in early education.
We invest in innovation because enabling and encouraging industries that depend on brainpower is the best way for Massachusetts to take advantage of the knowledge explosion happening in the world economy today. So, we have initiatives to grow the life sciences and biotech, clean and alternative energy and the whole range of digital technologies – each one designed not to substitute for the private sector but to supplement it in strategic ways.
So, for example, we support internships and mentoring programs at hundreds of companies to help us prepare and retain talent. We encourage entrepreneurship itself through technology transfer, proof of concept support and accelerator loans and grants for early-stage companies, like MassChallenge. And we connect training dollars to meet the middle skills needs of our precision or advanced manufacturing, which is in the midst of a significant resurgence.
And finally we invest in infrastructure – the unglamorous work of government – because rebuilding roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing not only creates jobs right now, but gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.
Education, innovation, infrastructure. It’s a strategy proven through history. And it’s working for us today.
This past year, we added over 55,000 jobs, the largest number of jobs created in a single year in nearly 15 years, and the fourth straight year of strong job growth. The Massachusetts economy at the end of last year was growing 69 percent faster than the national growth rate, and continues at a strong pace today.
Our life sciences supercluster is the strongest and one of the fastest growing in the world, and our clean tech sector is growing at double digit rates year over year. And because we are making more of the things we invent, manufacturing in our state is growing more than 50 percent faster than in the nation as a whole, and seven times the rate it did during the previous administration.
Today, we are first in the Nation in student achievement, health care coverage, energy efficiency, veterans’ services, economic competitiveness, venture funding, entrepreneurial activity, and much more. We are modernizing our roads, rails, bridges, housing and adding more than 2 million more square feet of laboratory space to the more than 18 million square feet we have already. And we are doing it responsibly, with balanced budgets and achieving the highest bond rating in Commonwealth history.
Collaboration is key to serving the common good of our citizens, and the Commonwealth is thrilled to expand our partnership with Israel, one of the most dynamic innovation economies anywhere. By shaping and reshaping each other’s ideas, concentrating on what’s meaningful and providing the tools needed to get the job done, we are building on a strong foundation.
There are more than 200 companies with Israeli founders or Israeli-licensed technologies in Massachusetts – most of them in the critical innovation sectors that are leading global growth. In 2012, these companies contributed over 6,700 high-skills jobs to our economy and generated over $6 billion in direct revenue for the state. Israel is one of our most important trading partners, and has become more so because we are focusing not just on how to sell or buy more to or from each other, but rather how to build things together.
Israel and Massachusetts have many things in common. We place an emphasis on education and innovation. We look outwards, not just inward, for opportunities to partner. We want to do good while also doing well. We are optimists, with a determination to invent our own future.
In both Israel and Massachusetts, Research and Design (R&D) for defense and security have been key drivers of innovation. R&D accounts for 5 percent of Massachusetts’ GDP. Israel leads among nations with 4.5 percent.
Both Israel and Massachusetts are destinations of choice of major tech corporations. EMC, a Massachusetts icon, has a major presence here in Israel. IBM, Cisco, Google and Microsoft, to name a few, all see similar reasons for significant expansion in both Massachusetts and Israel.
And both Israel and Massachusetts have a deep history of creativity, improvisation and entrepreneurialism.
In Massachusetts, these strengths combine in a vibrant ecosystem of innovation that has all the ingredients to enable creative people to turn ideas into products and businesses, indeed to flourish.
Naturally, in such a community, we are always asking what's next. In a very real sense, that's why we have chosen the subjects of today's panels.
Neuroscience, we are convinced, will be the key to relieving suffering and extending the quality of life for people with Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases.
In eHealth lies the key to reducing costs and improving the quality of health care delivery, and even rethinking the model for delivery of care.
Medical devices present a host of new opportunities and challenges as we think about personalized medicine and how, in effect, to democratize the relief of suffering in places where wealth is not concentrated.
And everything we use, from our thermostats to our cars, are getting "smarter," generating data to better manage our resources or predict outcomes. How do we harvest that knowledge for our greater convenience and the greater good through "the internet of things?"
These are the conversations we want to launch today – and we look forward to seeing where they take us.
So, on behalf of our delegation, and all the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I invite you to make Massachusetts your “home away from home.” We are committed to building relationships to advance our mutual commercial, economic and social interests for today and for the generation to come.
Like Israel, we have the talent, the tradition of invention, the venture capital, the skilled workforce, and the demonstrated record of setting the standard for the rest of the world. I am confident that together we have the ability to lift up both of our peoples and work toward a better future for the generations to come.