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Tel Aviv moves to entice tech startups

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Officials in Tel Aviv are working on ways to entice more tech firms and startup ventures to choose Israel's version of Silicon Valley.

Known as Silicon Wadi -- "valley" in Hebrew -- Tel Aviv is pushing for ways to promote this reputation. The local government is working on the Startup Visa, legislation that would allow foreign entrepreneurs to more easily set up shop in the region.

The visa may be a more attractive prospect for firms that often struggle against limited and harsh visa restrictions imposed in the United States. Businesses complain that the visa process in the U.S. leaves them without the means to bring in their skilled workers, and the lottery system -- which is always oversubscribed -- can leave staff in limbo for long periods until they know whether a visa application has been accepted.

In addition, officials said at a news conference this week that public Wi-Fi wil soon be available in all major areas -- another smaller prompt to promote Tel Aviv as a tech-savvy city attractive to young, creative minds.

Tel Aviv is home to approximately 700 startups relating to technology. However, most startups are home-grown -- even if some are acquired later by foreign companies -- and officials want to transform the scene into an international community. Avner Warner, the city's director of International Economic Development commented:

"The vision is that Tel Aviv can start to develop a more international startup culture. More foreigners here would attract more capital and allow for deeper engagement between locals and global innovators."

Read More: Bloomberg

Image credit: Flickr

— By on May 30, 2013, 12:29 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure