A study in contrasts... --MW ________________________________________________________________________ Israel to invest $1 billion in new high-tech companies Copyright ) 1998 Nando.net Copyright ) 1998 Reuters TEL AVIV (January 8, 1998 09:12 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - The Israeli government has initiated a plan to form a $1 billion fund to invest in high-tech start-ups, Finance Minister Yaacov Neeman said on Thursday. "I fully believe the future of Israel's economy depends on the advancement of high tech," Neeman said at a conference on start-ups. The government itself will invest $100 million in the fund, and is talking to local and foreign investment banks about investing in and managing the fund. He did not say when it would be established. The fund would be the second undertaken by the Israeli government. The Yozma fund, which it formed in 1992 to support private sector venture capital funds and jump start the industry, was privatised in March 1997. In addition, the government supports high technology research and development through grants from the chief scientist's office and early-stage companies through state-sponsored incubators. The chief scientist, Orna Berry, has complained that requests for aid are far in excess of her budget. "I agree with those who say this isn't enough," Neeman said. "But I believe the government shouldn't take all the risk." The $1 billion fund will increase private sector investment in start-ups and reduce the pressure on the government's budget, he said. ________________________________________________________________________ France to help small firms with Internet Copyright ) 1998 Nando.net Copyright ) 1998 Reuters PARIS (January 8, 1998 07:48 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - France plans to devote $8.2 million this year to supporting Internet use by small and medium-sized companies, Secretary of State for Industry Christian Pierret said Thursday. Only 30 percent of small and medium-sized firms had Internet access in 1996, and only 15 percent had plans to link their computers to the network, he said in the text of a speech to France's Internet society. That compared with 50 percent in Germany and 45 percent in the United Kingdom. "Small and medium-sized companies would profit greatly by using this tool," he said, noting that they were the country's main potential job creators.
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