Gibrael – A new Bi-national Chamber of Commerce for Gibraltar
By: Eran Shay, Managing Director, Benefit Business Solutions and President of “Gibrael”- the Gibraltar-Israel Chamber of Commerce
Recently a new Chamber of Commerce has been established on the Rock, between Gibraltar and Israel, under the name “Gibrael”. Gibrael is the brainchild of Eran Shay and Ayelet Mamo Shay, who moved to Gibraltar from Israel over 8 years ago and run a local business & strategic consultancy firm called Benefit Business Solutions, providing Business Accelerator services to companies from around the world.
“The idea to launch “Gibrael” came from the realisation that there are many potential synergies between Gibraltar and Israel. Over the last few years, both the Government of Gibraltar and local businesses are thirsty for innovative technologies and we thought Israel, who is renowned worldwide for being the “start-up nation” and a place from where many leading technologies have emerged, could best answer these needs”, says Eran, who serves as President of Gibrael. For Israeli companies, Gibraltar can serve as an ideal testing ground for new technologies as well as the ultimate gateway into the bigger European markets. There are benefits for both countries, and Gibrael would act as a bridge connecting people and facilitating business from both sides.
Indeed, the objective of Gibrael is to promote, strengthen and encourage the bilateral trade relations between Gibraltar and Israel. The Chamber’s activities focus on four main channels of assistance. First, Gibrael acts as the first port of call for Gibraltar businesses or individuals requiring information about doing business in Israel, and vice-versa for Israeli businesses enquiring about doing business in Gibraltar. Second, Gibrael acts as an “introducer”, connecting relevant business people from both countries. Thirdly, Gibrael advertises and promotes relevant business opportunities, projects, seminars and exhibitions. Fourth, the Gibrael organises professional meetings, delegations, trade-missions and thematic seminars in areas related to the Gibraltar -Israel commercial relationship.
Gibrael liaises with the Government of Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce, Israeli Ministry of Economy, Israeli Embassy in London and with related institutions in Israel such as with the Israel Export Institute, the Manufacturers Association, and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce.
Amongst the first initiatives of Gibrael, was a HiTech seminar held on the Rock in October, with visiting companies from Israel, who presented the audience at the John Mackintosh Hall with some of the biggest technologies that have come out of Israel as well as an insight into how equity crowd funding is used as a tool for investing in start-up companies. The Israeli companies were very much keen to learn how Gibraltar can be used as a platform from which to expand onto the bigger European markets.
Another important initiative on behalf of Gibrael has been the publication of a special magazine about Gibraltar, written mostly in Hebrew and aimed at the Jewish/Israeli business community worldwide. The magazine starts with a welcome message from the Chief Minister. It then gives some background about Gibraltar covering its history and geo-political position along with highlights of the economy and tax regime. It continues with a more in depth analysis of the different business sectors such as Finance, eBusiness, Shipping, Tourism and Real Estate, describing the unique characteristics and specific advantages that each sector offers to new incoming businesses. The magazine also highlights the quality of life in Gibraltar, describing the various leisure and recreation facilities available, nightlife, marinas, shopping, beaches and tourist attractions. It also talks about the culture and festivities (National Day, Queen’s Birthday parade, 3 Kings etc.), the harmony between religions on the Rock along with an insight into the local Jewish community. This first of its kind publication is being distributed to Israeli Chambers of Commerce and Israeli Business Clubs in over 28 major financial centres around the world including Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Singapore, Capetown, Buenos Aires, London, Berlin and more. It will no doubt put Gibraltar on the map!
Gibrael is the second bi-national Chamber of Commerce to be established in Gibraltar after AmCham was founded a couple of years ago, between Gibraltar and the United States. Bi-national Chambers of Commerce are particularly vital for small business growth as they are a fairly low cost channel for small business owners to tap into a wide network of contacts and opportunities in new markets, without having to commit substantial resources. Such Chambers also act as useful lobbyists to their respective Governments to take any such actions and measures as may be required to remove any obstacles to businesses and create the correct environment that will facilitate interaction and trust amongst people from different countries so that economic and social prosperity can be attained, for the benefit of both countries.