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Mayor plans to bring Israeli businesses to Columbus

Mayor Michael Coleman celebrated the addition of three new sister cities from India, Ghana, and Mexico. Columbus already has seven sister cities which foster economic and cultural relationships.

But Coleman also talked about his recent trip to sister city Herzilya, Israel considered to be the silicon valley of Israel. Coleman and a 30-member delegation of business leaders recently returned from a week-long tour of the country. Officials from Battelle, Tech Columbus, and Ohio State were among the delegation which met with about 150 Israeli companies.

"It is very clear that they have the brain power, the knowledge power, the research. What they don't have is the market," Coleman said.

And Coleman says he wants Columbus to be that market. Columbus tops Forbes' list of up and coming tech cities and Israel is the second country worldwide in startup companies. So it seems like a likely pairing. Colman says he expects 10 to 15 of the companies to relocate to Columbus and he is already making plans.

"We're going to continue to talk to them," Coleman said. "We're also going to look for venture capital in the city of Columbus to invest in their companies provided they come here. We have locations for them in the Kinnear Park area off Kinnear Road."

Coleman has traveled to China and Germany for other economic-related trips. But he says this visit was more extensive, in both size and opportunity, than past trips.

"We felt that the opportunity was going to be significantly bigger and it turned out that way," Coleman said.

Coleman says he does not want to put a timeframe on the project but says he wants to make plans to return to Israel next year.