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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, and increase representation of Arab women in business and economic development activities.

Current Grantees

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..

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 will facilitate a process whereby local Jewish and Arab businesses, individuals and communities will cooperate to provide needed services and products to the local anchor institutions including Soroka Hospital, the IDF, Ben Gurion University, the Municipality of Beersheba, and Dead Sea Works, thereby boosting local economic development. 

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. Injaz will build on year one accomplishments and focus on a single regional economic development project and implement it as a pilot for further duplication in other regions. 

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.  ITWorks plans to implement two new groups in Tira and in Daliyat al-Karmel for a total of 50 participants.  The courses will provide participants with 16 months of job placement and career development guidance and support including Hebrew language skills as needed. 

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 two-year project working to advance equality and shared society between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel by mapping and analyzing barriers to equal distribution of resources within government ministries supported by the development and implementation of strategies and policy recommendations. Sikkuy plans to advance the adoption policy recommendations within the Finance Ministry to increase resource allocations in the areas of transportation, state owned land for housing and welfare; identify and describe the municipal and governmental barriers which result in inequality in Arab local authority revenues and increase mutual understanding of resource allocation needs between Arab municipalities and government decision makers through Study Days. 

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 is partnering with the Government of Israel’s Authority for Economic Development in the Arab Sector and a private foundation to open One-Stop Employment Centers in 21 towns over the next several years to address the employment needs of Israeli Arabs.  The first Center established, in Tira in February, 2012, equips Arab-Israelis with the tools and resources needed to become economically self-sufficient and establish more resilient community infrastructure.  Since then, the center has guided more than 1,000 local men and women towards first time or improved employment opportunities through individual counseling, soft skills or vocational training courses.    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 for this program. The goal of this initiative is to encourage more Arab-Israeli high school graduates to pursue higher education. With the groundwork laid, the program is gearing up for expansion with the hope that the Tira pilot will be one included as one of the program locations once the national program gets underway. 

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 Arab high schools to help students select fields of study which are in demand to increase the likelihood of future employment.

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. The availability of microenterprise loans has helped over 5,000 Arab women to develop small businesses has improved their status within their family and community helping them to become more assertive and confident.  KIEDF plans to continue expansion into Central and Northern Israel and open a new branch in Central Israel for expanded outreach, extend partnership with GOI ministries, distribute 1,200-1,400 direct loans and more.

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.  Tsofen partners with high tech industries to offer unique networking, seminars and programming activities, and to develop Nazareth as a high tech hub.

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 will continue into the second stage of product and business development of its medicinal plan enterprise including preparing a detailed business plan, growing the medicinal plants, developing the product and preparing an accompanying marketing strategy with a subsequent introduction of the products to the consumer market. 

Past Grantees

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 will be scaled up and replicated in over 40 Arab towns over the next few years with another operating partner.

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.