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Dr Orna Berry is elected Chairperson of the Israel-Australia, New-Zealand & Oceania Chamber of Commerce, September 2009

Press Release

Dr Orna Berry was recently elected to Chair the Israel-Australia, New-Zealand & Oceania Chamber of Commerce (IACC), based in Tel-Aviv.

The IACC is one of 45 bi-lateral Chambers in Israel and is recognised as being one of the most active and vibrant organisations of its kind. The IACC is fortunate to have strong Sister Chambers (AICC) based in- Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and also an affiliate in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Chamber’s mandate is the promotion of bi-lateral trade and relations. Trade amounts to around $US1Bil per annum, Israeli exports make-up two-thirds of this.

Israeli Communications, Software & High-Tech products and services in general make up a large proportion of the Israel exports, followed by Agro-Technology , Medical Devices and more.

70% of Australian exports to Israel comprise of Coal and Livestock.

Close to 60 Israeli companies have a physical presence in Australia employing hundreds of local staff.

Australian investments into Israel include ownership and management of Israel’s largest Duty Free chain- James Richardson, Israel’s largest energy company- Paz Oil and a local top five financial institution- First International Bank.

Orna: “I am very excited about taking a leadership role at the Chamber. I am very fond of Australia, its people, culture and way of conducting business. We are going to invest a lot of energy and resources to strengthen the growing bi-lateral trade and assist companies from all sectors in creating mutually beneficial relationships with Australia.

Specifically, I believe cooperation in Cleantech is going to be an important element of the relationship, both Israel and Australia are two-thirds desert with scarce water resources and both countries are determined to reduce their carbon footprint hence there will be some exciting opportunities to exploit.”

On average, the IACC hosts over 200 different guests from Australia and the region per annum, visitors either come on delegations, missions or privately. Aside from the Trade aspect, the Missions often focus on what Israel has achieved in terms of innovation and commercialization, including the role of the Government and in particular the various programs that the Chief Scientist runs in promoting Industrial R&D.

In addition, the Chamber facilitates numerous visits for Israeli companies to go to Australia and use the AICC’s extensive network for business development.

Dr Berry replaces outgoing Chairman- Mr Gurion Meltzer AO who did an outstanding job for over a decade in hosting over a thousand guests and taking numerous delegations to Australia.

Orna brings her rich experience and vast knowledge to the IACC which will in turn greatly enhance the bi-lateral relationship. Orna has spent over 25 years in science and technology industries, as an academic researcher, entrepreneur, policy maker and most recently, venture capitalist.

She is a Venture Partner at Gemini Israel Funds, one of Israel’s leading VC funds (managing more than $US700Mil). Gemini focuses on investing in seed and early stage companies mainly from sectors such as- Communications & Wireless, Consumer Electronics, Enterprise Software, Internet and Semiconductors.

Orna is the Immediate Past Chairperson of the Israel Venture Association, which represents the Israeli venture capital community and is also a Former Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Government of Israel.

In this capacity she was responsible for implementing government policy towards industrial research and development including grants of $US500Mil a year. Dr. Berry is a seasoned entrepreneur, she co-founded ORNET Data Communication Technologies which was later bought by Siemens.

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