Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter will be leaving office less than six months from now. But as a result of the work he did last week during a whirlwind three-day trip to Israel, the impact will likely be felt long after he’s gone.
Meeting with representatives from a number of established businesses as well as start-up companies, the mayor laid the groundwork for them to establish Philadelphia business ties.
“The multitude of Israeli companies interacting with Philadelphia will be Mayor Nutter’s legacy,” said John Churchill, director of economic affairs for the Consulate General of Israel for the Mid-Atlantic Region. “We’re grateful to Mayor Nutter for all he’s spearheaded and are excited to pick up with the next administration.”
Following a 2013 trip to Israel in which he met with then-Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the mayors of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Bethlehem,
Nutter established a three-way academic partnership between Drexel University, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Hebrew University. At the time, he also met with a number of businesses to convince them Philadelphia was the right place to expand.
This past April, several of those companies came here to see for themselves what Philadelphia had to offer, setting the stage for this recent trip, which coincided with a visit to Frankfurt, Germany, where the mayor signed a “Sister City” agreement.
After spending two days in Frankfurt, Nutter left for Tel Aviv, arriving in time to have Shabbat dinner.
Ordinarily, the Sabbath is considered a day of rest. It wasn’t for Nutter, whose day included meetings with Life Changing Experiences, an anti-bullying agency that will work in conjunction with CHOP to prevent violence, and Via-ride, a transportation company that has already established a New York office and is considering expanding here. Via-ride would serve as a paratransit operation working in conjunction with SEPTA.
That was followed by a guided tour of Jerusalem for the mayor and six members of his delegation, along with Vered Nohi-Becker, executive director of the Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Nutter then had dinner with Chemi Peres of Potango Venture Fund.
His Sunday schedule was even more hectic. He met first with TEVA, the pharmaceutical company that already has a division in Horsham. Then came visits to five companies over a two-day period that had previously committed to expand their operations into the Philadelphia region during their October trip here.
Those companies are:
• PhysiMax, a technology company specializing in diagnosing sports injuries before they happen;
• Pango, which features an app that will allow users to pay for parking from their phones;
• Simlat, which handles drone technology;
• We Works, a Tel Aviv
network of co-working spaces for startup companies, which is expected to open a 30,000-square foot space in the Piazza in Northern Liberties later this year; and
• Pico, a photo-sharing technology company.
Before returning home Monday night, Nutter concluded his journey by visiting Netivot, a border city near Gaza considered the “sister city” to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. He also returned to Tel Aviv to meet with a number of managing partners at a venture capital fund round table.
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