In 2007, founders Chuck Newman and Susan Herman, both Michigan natives with a passion for the vibrancy of Israel, met to discuss a new idea. They knew Michigan had a renowned base of manufacturing, human resources and infrastructure. And they knew Israel was a country with a vibrant technological workforce and the desire to expand their manufacturing, development and distribution to North America.
Thus was born the idea of a “bridge” between the two. The idea snowballed, meetings were held throughout the state, and within months the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (MIBB) was formed.
MIBB moved quickly, showing how effective Michigan know-how could be. In the first year, seven Israeli companies visited Michigan to consider locating their North American operations here. MIBB representatives participated with several State legislators in a trade mission to Israel. By the end of the first year, 16 Israeli auto related companies attended a match-making event to meet 10 U.S. automotive manufacturers and suppliers. New business deals that were previously unimaginable were started between Israeli and Michigan based companies.
The Bridge expanded, hiring a professional staff, and became a matchmaker creating partnerships between Israeli and Michigan companies. Ongoing partnerships were forged with the Michigan Economic Developments Corporation (MEDC), the Israel Economic Mission based in Chicago and the Export Institute in Israel.
In 2017, under the leadership of Hadas Bernard and Beth Gotthelf, the MIBB transitioned to the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator, a more robust economic growth bridge between Michigan and Israel.