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In 2004, the Tnufa Committee approved 162 requests for a total of 11.5 million NIS

The Chief Scientist at TMT: The year 2004 was characterized by particularly high demand for momentum grants, following the trend that has existed for the past 3 years

The Tanufa Committee, chaired by the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Eli Ofer, which allocates funds to companies in the embryonic stage, discussed during 2004 391 applications for grants, of which the committee approved 162 applications for a total amount of approximately NIS 11,500,000.

The distribution of the approved projects according to technology areas was as follows:
• Communication, electronics and information systems – 40%
• Life sciences and medical devices – 39%
• Machinery and materials – 14%
• Other subjects – 7%

Jacob Fisher, Tnufa program manager, said that Tnufa conducted a special pilot this year to encourage internal enterprise entrepreneurship, in small enterprises. The purpose of the pilot is to encourage small enterprises from the traditional industry, to integrate research and development activity, as an integral part of the enterprise's conduct, with the aim of leading to the development of new products and perfecting the production methods. This year, applications from 10 small enterprises were discussed, of which 4 have been approved so far.

Jacob Fisher further added that as part of the efforts to commercialize the ideas developed with Tnufa assistance, Tnufa projects participated in several exhibitions in Israel and around the world and won many awards. At the SIIF 2004 exhibition in Seoul - 8 projects in various fields were presented, as part of the Israeli pavilion operated by Tnufa representatives. In the competition held during the exhibition, the project, EDU-ALL, won one of the five international awards of the exhibition, for the invention: "Interactive textbook". In addition, 3 gold medals were awarded to Israeli enterprises in various categories.

Three Tnufa graduate companies participated in the "Israel Startup" competition, during the annual IVA conference. Two of the companies won the title of "Chosen Startup of the Year": Ultrashape won the most promising startup in the field of life sciences and Aspectos won the award the most promising startup in the field of Homeland Security.

Dr. Eli Ofer, the chief scientist at the Ministry of Science and Technology, said that the year 2004 was characterized by particularly high demand for stimulus grants, following the trend that has existed for the past 3 years. Dr. Ofer added that despite the awakening of the private sector in 2004, there is still a lack of private money for pre-seed investments. The threshold of requirements from new ventures on the part of the funds has increased significantly, compared to the past, and they have to go a long way longer, until they are ripe for venture capital investment - this is precisely what a momentum plan is for, emphasizes Dr. Ofer.

Dr. Ofer points out that in the last two years, a momentum program succeeded in bringing about the establishment of over 40 new start-up companies, which won the trust of investors and raised funding to continue their activities.

Background on a momentum planThe purpose of the Tnufa program is to encourage technological entrepreneurship by supporting the activity required of enterprises at the beginning of their steps, in order to promote a new technological idea towards industrial realization. The assistance allows the entrepreneurs to reach a decision regarding the viability of the venture before a lot of money and precious time has been invested in it.

The assistance to entrepreneurs as part of Nufa includes a financial grant of 85% of the approved budget, up to a ceiling of NIS 210,000 per program, intended for the following purposes: building a prototype; patent registering; preparation of a business plan; Business promotion.

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