Israeli who won business prize from Sir Richard Branson dies in road accident

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Israeli who won business prize from Sir Richard Branson dies in road accident

Sir Richard Branson pays tribute saying he was 'inspired by Shimrit Perkol-Finkel's vision and drive', following her tragic death on Sunday in Tel Aviv

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Business is an adventure event at the Peres Centre for Peace with Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson and CEO Shai Weiss in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Business is an adventure event at the Peres Centre for Peace with Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson and CEO Shai Weiss in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Sir Richard Branson has paid tribute to an an Israeli woman who won a business development prize, after she was killed in a road accident in Tel Aviv.

Dr Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, a marine biologist, was the chief executive of ECOncrete, a company she co-founded with Dr Ido Sella.

She had been due to take part in an International Women’s Day seminar on Monday together with Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Tsipi Hotovely, and the executive producer of Shtisel, Dikla Barkai.

The event was due to take place under the auspices of the UK’s Tel Aviv UniversityTrust. 

She was killed on Sunday night after her e-scooter was in collision with a lorry in central Tel Aviv. She was knocked off her scooter and did not survive the accident.

Dr Perkol-Finkel, 46, won the “Pitch to Rich” award in October 2019 as part of the celebrations around Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flights between London and Tel Aviv. Her company makes environmentally sensitive concrete which can be used to strengthen marine infrastructure, often damaged by climate change or erosion. 

Sir Richard Branson told Jewish News it was “such sad news. I was inspired by Shimrit’s vision and drive when she presented her ideas in Tel Aviv. My thoughts are with her family.”

Dr Shimrit Perkol-Finkel at a Peres Centre for Peace event with Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson and CEO Shai Weiss in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In 2019 the company installed its first UK fixture, a tide pool coastal installation at North Portsea, next to Plymouth, designed to preserve the coastline of Portsea Island and offer a habitat for local marine life.

Dr Perkol-Finkel, who was the mother of three young children, also won the EU women innovators award.

Virgin described her as “an inspiring woman”.

Its chief executive, Shai Weiss paid respects, posing on LinkedIn that he “was deeply saddened” by her death.

“I share my sincere condolences with Dr Perkol-Finkel’s family and loved ones at this sad time. May her legacy inspire the next generation of female engineers and bring positive change to male-dominated industries.”

Cara Case, Chief Executive of Tel Aviv University Trust said: “We were shocked and saddened to hear of this tragic accident. A graduate of the Life Sciences faculty at TAU, Dr Perkol-Finkel was a proud and active alumna of Tel Aviv University, often speaking at events when asked. Her work was recognised globally and stood out, especially as a woman in the field. Our hearts go out to her family at this difficult time.”


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