By MARA LEE, firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Hartford Courant
6:30 p.m. EDT, June 6, 2012
EAST HARTFORD — Most Israeli tech startups think of Boston, New York and the Silicon Valley as the right cultural
fit, but Connecticut's economic development promoters want to change that.
Israel, which has more Nasdaq-listed companies than any other foreign country, is too small to be a major consumer
export market for Connecticut companies. But its track record of innovation in imaging, software and medical
technology is attractive to those who want to nurture more small-company tech innovation in the state.
Lou Manzione, dean of University of Hartford's college of engineering, technology and architecture, said
Connecticut universities and government agencies need to do more to help companies with under 100 employees
"We've been very comfortable with these very strong multinationals," Mazione said. Connecticut has a higher share of
employment at large corporations than the average state.
Manzione was one of many panelists at a day-long event Tuesday at Rentschler Field aimed at increasing
collaboration between businesses and universities in Connecticut and Israel.
Government officials and the Metro Hartford Alliance leaders are promoting the state as a good place for Israeli
companies to open a U.S. office, or for a young company to relocate, because of its access to capital, talent pool and
proximity to major corporations and universities, New York and Boston.
"Connecticut's got the eco-system necessary to germinate small businesses," said Trent Molter, CEO of Sustainable
Innovations LLC, a fuel and energy firm he founded in 2007.
Molter, who co-founded Proton Energy Systems in Wallingford before founding his current company, also said
Gov. Dannel Malloy's small-business initiatives have been helpful.
Molter gave advice about how to manage cultural differences between Israel and the United States, learned from his
company's collaboration with Israeli entrepreneurs.
"They are very much in your face," he said, and extremely direct. He said if they think you're handling a problem
wrong, they will say: "I don't like that."
"Sometimes we're not used to that in the United States," he said.
He also recounted the first conversation he had with the Israelis he now partners with. He was on a call with four or
five of them on the other line at once.
"Just as we started, it seemed like a fight broke out on their end," he said, to knowing laughter from Jewish
Federation officials. The Hartford Jewish Federation was a co-sponsor of the program, with the Metro Hartford