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Social Venture Fund

Economic Development

The Government of Israel continues to give significant attention to the issue of Arab economic development and integration into the Israeli GDP. Serious investment has been made in stimulus plans for economic development affecting public transportation, employment opportunities, crime reduction, education, the private sector and job training for Israeli Arabs, Druze, and Circassia communities throughout Israel. These initiatives will have a significant impact in improving the quality of life and enhancing economic development opportunities in the Arab sector. The SVF is working to complement these efforts and where appropriate, provide matching funds to leverage government dollars.

Within Economic Development, the SVF targets initiatives that integrate Arab university graduates and trained professionals into public, academic and private sectors, provide job training and placement, increase representation of Arab women and men in business and economic development activities, and promote business and social entrepreneurship in the Arab community.

Current Grantees

NEW:  American Joint Distribution Committee- ELKA Leadership and Governance Institute
Beit Hakerem Cluster

This new project will empower and build collaborations between local Jewish and Arab governments, philanthropists, NGOs and business leaders on local issues, cooperative ventures and economies of scale for 5 Arab municipalities and local councils of Baneh, Dir al Asad, Majd al Krum, Nahef and Rame and 2 Jewish towns of Karmiel and Misgav in the Beit Hakerem region in the Central Galilee where limited interactions and large gaps exist. Operated by the JDC, the initiative will develop and implement regional social, educational and economic projects. JDC will partner with Injaz to provide mentorship service to mayors and senior municipal professionals in the Arab municipalities. JDC will work alongside the Government of Israel’s Interior and Finance Ministries to implement a total of five clusters.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee–JDC-TEVET
One-Stop Employment Center for Arab-Israelis
Access to Higher Education Program
JDC rescues Jews at risk, provides relief for Jews in need, supports renewal of Jewish community life, and works to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of society in Israel. JDC-Tevet partners with the Government of Israel’s Authority for Economic Development in the Arab Sector and a private foundation to establish One-Stop Employment Centers in 21 towns over the next several years to address the employment needs of Israeli Arabs. Since the One-Stop Employment Center in Tira opened its doors in February 2012, professionals have guided over 1,000 local men and women towards first time or improved employment opportunities through individual counseling, soft skills, vocational and technical training courses. The Center expanded and is now responsible for reaching out to residents of 7 local cities and towns composed of 130,000 citizens. In the fall of 2012, JDC launched a pilot Access to Higher Education program in Tira under the auspices of the One-Stop Employment Center with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, serving as the lead government agency in order to scale up the program nationally. The goal of this initiative is to encourage more Arab-Israeli high school graduates to pursue higher education. Over 500 clients have secured employment since the Tira Center opened its doors two years ago. The Center has had success with developing relationships with variety of companies and building awareness about Arab employment and in some cases, developed customized training programs.

NEW:  Givat Haviva
Shared Communities Project

This new project will bring together the mayors and key stakeholders from the neighboring Jewish and Arab towns of Maali Eron (5 villages) and Megido Regional Council (13 communities) to work on cooperative projects. The goal is to develop leadership and build capacity for shared society at personal, local and regional levels. This is the first phase of this effort which will focus on convening, planning and mapping. The next phase will include the implementation of joint projects between these municipalities.

Injaz Center for Arab Local Governance
Regional Networking – Strengthening the Economic Base of Arab Towns
Injaz views the local authorities as the driving force for social economic development, and works to build the capacity of municipal leaders based on the principles of democracy and transparency in decision making and policy development. The goal of the Regional Networking Program is to build a sustainable economic base for Arab towns by increasing regional cooperation through: building frameworks for regional economic cooperation among local authorities, national government and key stakeholder groups in communities; identifying regional economic opportunities, synergies and obstacles to reaching them, and; defining projects and local processes to be integrated in the regional network. After mapping the regional opportunities, Injaz is now developing business plans for potential cooperative ventures in tourism and the establishment of an academic center in the Northern Triangle, and high-tech in the Southern Triangle. This year, Injaz will continue to forge high-tech and other economic cooperative efforts in the Southern Triangle, and provide mentoring and capacity building support for the Arab mayors and administrative teams involved in JDC’s Beit Hakerem Cluster. 

New Mayors Training and Mentoring Program
The New Mayors Training program is implemented in partnership with Tel Aviv University’s Institute for Local Government. Injaz will provide mentoring to newly elected Arab mayors quickly and effectively so that they can learn from one another, share information, and create positive connections with key government officials. The program is made up of four seminars, individual mentoring and networking to orient new mayors. This program complements the Ministry of Interior’s mandatory training for new mayors and focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary for operating in the socio-economic context of Arab society in Israel, and for effective recovery in municipalities in crisis in the majority of Arab municipalities.  

Securing Israel’s Future through Employment
ITWorks creates employment opportunities for underserved groups, minorities and marginalized peoples through technological training and professional skills development. Securing Israel’s Future through Employment is a project in cooperation with Israel's National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi), which provides low-income, unemployed and unskilled workers living in Israel’s social and geographic periphery with technological training courses, professional skills, vocational support and direct links to quality employment in accessible areas with dignified conditions. The SVF grant supports courses in Tira and Dalyat al Karmel benefiting the Arab and Druze communities. Two additional courses will be launched in the Lod and Ramle this year. 

Kav Mashve - Employers' Coalition for Equality for Arab University Graduates
Career Training Center
Kav Mashve works to create an open, equal-opportunity business environment for the employment of Arab college graduates and to significantly increase the number of Arab college graduates employed in positions that fit their qualifications and offer commensurate compensation. The Career Training Center is a prestigious knowledge and training center assisting Arab students and graduates to gain employment appropriate to their qualifications. Kav Mashve works directly with corporations and public sector organizations to prepare the way for integrating Arab graduates and professionals into the workforce, with Career Centers at universities and colleges to incorporate their activities into the academic world and tailor career services to meet the needs of Arab students. Kav Mashve also provides career orientation training in 50 Arab high schools to help students select fields of study which are in demand to increase the likelihood of future employment. In addition, Kav Mashve provides a range of diversity workshops to corporate and public sector organizations such as “Managing Diverse Workplaces” for CEOs and managers to manage diverse workplaces and enhance opportunities for the promotion of Arab employees and “Professional Advancement of Arab Employees in the Workplace”for Arab employees to gain the skills and confidence to pursue promotions within the workplace. Since 2008, Kav Mashve has successfully placed over 1,000 Arab college graduates in employment positions commensurate with their skills in a wide range of companies including high tech, telecommunications, banking, insurance and utilities.

Koret Israel Economic Development Funds (KIEDF)
SAWA Microfinance Loan Fund
Koret Israel Economic Development Funds (KIEDF) was established in 1994 to stimulate economic development and employment opportunities in the private sector. KIEDF has facilitated over $280 million in financing to over 10,000 small and micro businesses in Israel while supporting more than 45,000 jobs. KIEDF launched the SAWA Loan Fund based on the principles of successful micro-finance and solidarity group-lending programs around the world, in order to assist Bedouin women in Israel's Negev region establish home-based microenterprises with non-leveraged financing. With the help of government and philanthropic support, the SAWA Loan Fund recently expanded to support Arab and Bedouin women in the North, South and Center of the country, as well as Jewish women. In addition to access to credit, loan recipients receive business and technical services. Since its inception, SAWA has distributed over 3,9000 loans totaling more than $7.1 million in credit with an average loan loss rate of 1.9%, well below the 5% worldwide average. The Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Authority for the Economic Development of Minority Sectors in the Prime Minister’s Office committed to extending their partnership with KIEDF for an additional four years. In a recent evaluation, KIEDF found that 96% of clients have developed an active enterprise and 90% of respondents report a positive impact on their lives from SAWA. 87% reported an improved economic situation for the family, and 62% believed they would not have developed a micro-enterprise without the guidance and support of SAWA.

NEW:  PresenTense Israel
Developing Entrepreneurship in Israel’s Arab Community

PresentTense Israel catalyzes community-based entrepreneurship to grow local economies, enrich community life and solve critical issues facing Israeli society. Through its venture accelerators for social and business entrepreneurs, PTSchool seminars and workshops, and Eco-system development, PresenTense Israel is building the “Ground-up Nation”, where entrepreneurship is made accessible in communities across Israel. PresenTense will launch a new venture accelerator in the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev for 15 Arab-Israeli entrepreneurs, focused on establishing small businesses and social enterprises. Entrepreneurs will receive mentoring, and coaching, and subject matter expertise from a variety of professional backgrounds, and participate in seminars and round tables. The goals of the program are to increase entrepreneurship within the local Arab community, promote economic advancement and new income generation through entrepreneurship, increase community engagement and the number of local connections among the partner community’s entrepreneurs and professionals, and to build capacity within PresenTense so that they can play a significant role in fostering the emerging ecosystem of Arab community entrepreneurship.

Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality
Seat at the Table
Sikkuy (“chance” or “opportunity” in Hebrew) develops and implements projects to advance equality between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel in government budgets, resource allocation, hiring policy, land usage, and access to government services. Seat at the Table is a multi-year project to advance equality and shared society between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel by reducing and eliminating institutionalized government practices of unequal policies directed at the Arab minority in Israel. Sikkuy works in full collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office and other government ministries to map and analyze the barriers to equality policy in the fields of revenue sources for local, Arab authorities and barriers for equal allocation of ministerial and special governmental budget plans prepared by the Ministry of Finance. To date, Sikkuy has researched and mapped the budget of the Ministry of Finance and the general comptroller’s office and is developing and implementing a strategy for engaging in constructive discussion with the ministry for equality in government budgets and plans. As a result of Sikkuy’s intensive mapping of the Ministry of Transport’s budget to compare allocations to the Jewish and Arab communities the Ministry added 15 new inter urban and intra urban bus lines in Arab communities which impacts the ability of Arabs, especially young people and women to travel to college and university, and to work outside of their villages and towns which has a direct impact on improving the socio economic situation of the Arab communities in Israel.

High Technology Centers

Tsofen’s three-tiered mission is to integrate the Arab community into the high-tech industry and into other advanced industries, to substantially increase the number of Arab software engineers in the Israeli hi tech industry, and to guide and assist different authorities operating within the Arab community in leveraging regional development towards advanced technology industries. Tsofen’s High Technology Centers integrate community and private sector outreach, recruitment and training services to help place Arab candidates in high-tech positions. Based in Nazareth, and recently expanded to the Triangle region, Tsofen provides advanced high-tech training courses and job search workshops, and helps place Arab engineers into the Israeli high tech industry. Since 2008, 300 Arabs have graduated from Tsofen’s high tech courses and over 400 engineers have been placed in high tech positions. Tsofen partners with high tech industries to offer unique networking, seminars and programming activities, and to develop Nazareth as a high tech hub. Tsofen has expanded its activities and is offering high tech training programs in the Southern Triangle and is planning further expansions into the Negev and Western Galilee.

Wadi Attir: A Joint Initiative of the Hura Municipal Council and the Sustainability Laboratory Sustainable Development of Bedouin Community
Development of an Organic Medicinal Health Brand
Project Wadi Attir, launched in 2008, is an initiative to establish a sustainable, desert, farming operation integrating social, environmental, technological and economic considerations in the Negev Desert. Building on the Cooperative Management Training and the Indigenous Vegetable Growing Program for Women, the Development of an Organic Medicinal Product Brand is a new initiative to develop market quality samples for a range of organic, medicinal body care products and a high quality brand using organic desert ingredients. The goals of this program are to preserve, document and showcase traditional Bedouin knowledge in natural healing remedies and body care utilizing desert herbs, to establish a well-regarded high quality brand that will support economic independence through the sale of products at the visitors center, in specialty shops in Israel and abroad, and to provide employment opportunities for women in the community. Wadi Attir is actively engaged in the cultivation of a range of medicinal plants for use in the production of healing and body care products including infusion teas, cosmetics products and soaps. Wadi Attir is now in the final stage of the initial development of natural medicinal health care products that are commercially feasible. Further research and testing are required in order to effectively use modern technology in future manufacturing of these products. In addition, Wadi Attir is launching a new visitor education and training center this year where Jewish and Bedouin students will learn about traditional agriculture, and conduct research and volunteer activities.

Past Grantees

Arab Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation (AJEEC) – Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED) -- AJEEC-NISPED
Anchoring the Negev

AJEEC-NISPED promotes peace and development and the centrality of civil society in Israel through education and training, project development, consultation and networking. Anchoring the Negev brings together Negev Arab Bedouin and Jewish communities, businesses and individuals for the purpose of community wealth creation and ensuring local economic stability via asset ownership, anchoring jobs locally, and expanding the provision of public services. The initiative is modeled after the successful Evergreen Initiative in Cleveland, Ohio. Specifically, the initiative facilitates a process whereby local Jewish and Arab businesses, individuals and communities cooperate to provide needed services and products to the local anchor institutions including Soroka Hospital, the IDF, Ben Gurion University, the Municipality of Beersheba, Israel Chemicals and Dead Sea Works, thereby boosting local economic development. To date, the project has developed BizBanegev, an index of local businesses and a dedicated website and publicity to inform local businesses of RFP’s, provided capacity building and business development support, organized stakeholder conferences, and worked with local anchor institutions to define relevant procurement needs that could be met by the initiative and to prepare business plans for the most promising business opportunities.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives (TAFI)
Women at Work: "Sharikat Haya - Partnership for Life"
TAFI works to advance coexistence, equality and cooperation among Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens by creating and operating large-scale initiatives, cultivating strategic grassroots projects and conducting public education and advocacy to promote its vision of shared citizenship and opportunity for all of Israel’s citizens. Women at Work: “Sharikat Haya- Partnership for Life” promotes the integration of Arab women in the labor market through recruitment, empowerment, training and placement into first time jobs, a media campaign and employer-directed activities, in order to improve the economic and social status of Arab women in Israel (unemployment among Arab women is one of the lead causes of poverty among Israeli Arab households). Recently adopted by the government as a national model, Sharikat Haya is being scaled up and replicated in over 40 Arab towns over the next few years with Beatzmi serving as operating partner.

NEW:  Academic College of Tel Aviv Jaffa

The Academic College of Tel Aviv Jaffa aims to increase access of young Arab entrepreneurs to the College’s Entrepreneurial Acceleration program at the StartHub for local candidates who want to increase their chances of success in their entrepreneurial ventures. Operating out of the School of Management and Economics, the StartHub supports entrepreneurs with the venture process including development of business plans, seeking venture capital, etc. The SVF supports scholarships that cover training costs, personal mentoring and guidance, and the use of the co-working space and databases.

The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development
Keren Ya’ar Loan Fund
The guiding principle of The Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development (CJAED) is that Jewish-Arab economic cooperation in Israel is essential for peace, prosperity and economic stability in Israel and the region at large. The Jewish Agency for Israel’s (JAFI) mission is to inspire Jews throughout the world to connect with their people, heritage and Land, and empower them to build a thriving Jewish future and a strong Israel. The Keren Ya’ar Loan Fund was established to provide business loans to Arab-Israeli entrepreneurs to develop their businesses located in around the joint Jewish-Arab employment zones, create economic development and employment, fortify Jewish-Arab relations and build strong and table communities in key regions of Israel.

Economic Empowerment for Women
Business of One's Own
Economic Empowerment for Women (EEW) works to raise the socio-economic status of women in Israel by assisting women in achieving economic independence through the creation of small businesses. A Business of One's Own offers introductory business training and empowerment for Arab women plus ongoing and advanced business support and micro loans.