Dayton City Commission has approved $50,000 to continue a trade office and consultant in Israel.
The total cost of the program — called the “Dayton Region Israel Trade Alliance” — is $150,000. The city’s agreement with Development Projects Inc. expires Jan. 31, 2015, with a one-year option to renew. Commission approved the agreement last week, with three of five commission members present.
Development Projects Inc. is the public contracting arm of the Dayton Development Coalition. Dayton government, Montgomery County government and the coalition are each kicking in funding for the trade partnership. The city’s share is $50,000.
The idea is to draw Israeli businesses to Dayton and to strengthen businesses here, proponents say.
A Dayton trade office was established in Israel in April 2010. The first agreement was signed in September 2009 when a trade delegation from Dayton visited Haifa, Israel.
The trade office focuses on water technology, advanced manufacturing, aerospace initiatives, sensors, life sciences and more.
Shelley Dickstein, assistant Dayton city manager, last week called the project an effort in entrepreneurial “matchmaking.”
The project’s first three years were paid primarily by the private sector, Dickstein said. This alliance is now working with a new consultant and now governments are bearing the costs.
The agreement is made with the hope “that we will be bringing over to Dayton businesses who are interested in making investments.”
Dayton, the county and the coalition have hired economist Hadas Bar-Or, who has also worked with the state of Massachusetts in its trade work with Israel. Dickstein called her “extremely well connected.”
“We’re hoping to take advantage of that experience,” she said.
Commissioner Matt Joseph said trade relationships take time to pay off. “Flirting is no good. It has to be a long-term relationship,” he said.
Maurice “Mo” McDonald, an executive vice president on aerospace and defense with the coalition, said county and city representatives met with Israeli entrepreneurs last week and he expects to meet with more in February. He’s optimistic that one day an Israeli company will come to Dayton.
“I think it’s extremely beneficial to the Dayton region,” McDonald said.