Gov’t to Increase Assistance to Exporters

A cargo ship docked at the port in Ashdod. (Edi Israeli/Flash90, File)

The government will increase its allocation to assist Israeli exporters to reach new markets, providing NIS 70 million to the “Smart Money” program. Under the program, exporters can draw from a matching fund and receive up to NIS 500,000 over a two year period to fund marketing efforts in new markets. The program is administered by the Economy Ministry.

The program was started several years ago, with NIS 15 million initially allocated, and proved so popular that the allocation was increased to NIS 60 million in the 2016 budget. The new allocation of NIS 70 million is a testimony both to the popularity of the program and the commitment of the government to help promote exports, officials said.

The Ministry announced that it was also relaxing conditions under which exporters could qualify for assistance. In the past, exporters who bid on specific projects abroad could qualify for the assistance if they won tenders on bids for projects that were worth at least a million dollars.

This year’s criteria allow for winners of projects of as little as $500,000 to receive the aid. In addition, further concessions are to be granted to exporters based in northern Israel, in order to provide them with further aid.

Eli Cohen, Minister of Economy, said that especially during difficult economic times – exacerbated for exporters by the strong shekel, which makes the cost of exporting more expensive – the government needs to provide as much help as possible. “The Ministry realizes how important exports are to the Israeli economy,” Cohen said. “We are updating our programs in order to provide as much assistance as possible.”