Job academy for immigrants, haredim wins Entrepreneur Boot Camp

Businesses pitch ideas at Nefesh B'Nefesh's six-week Entrepreneur Boot Camp, with winners netting 25,000 shekels in seed money.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Winners show of their checks
Winners show of their checks
Nefesh B'Nefesh

Zehava Arky and Bruria Efune, who developed the concept of digital marketing startup ‘Aleph to Zee’ are the first-place winners of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s inaugural Entrepreneur Boot Camp Pitch Night, a finale event which took place yesterday evening in Be’er Sheva where participants of the organization’s six-week boot camp presented their business ideas to a panel of industry leaders. The program was run in partnership with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Jewish National Fund - USA.

Aleph to Zee, a digital marketing company currently in its development stage, will serve as a training academy for new immigrants to Israel and also the Haredi communities, who often times have difficulty acquiring the skill set to integrate into the Israeli job market. In second and third place, respectively, at the pitch night was Akiva Hollinger and his Negev Family Fabrication company, which creates affordable custom bunk beds for small apartments, and Zoey Tabak with her initiative, iRealize, which turns customers ideas into tangible product concepts with 3D designed models.

The vote was also opened to those in attendance, who voted Ziv Mor and his ‘Peace Through Gaming’ endeavor as the people’s choice award, a concept to help organize gamers around the world in conflict resolution regardless of cultural differences.

The six-week Entrepreneur Boot Camp was designed to give the Oleh innovators of the Israeli South the support they needed to be successful. Sessions took place once a week and were dedicated to topics such as building a business plan, marketing and sales consultation, the art of networking, bookkeeping and tax practices, and finally, how to successfully pitch your company to potential investors.

“In recent years we have seen growing numbers of Olim moving to Israel’s north and south,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Particularly in the south, there is a strong emphasis on hi-tech and innovation. The entrepreneurial spirit is engrained in Israeli culture and we’re thrilled to be able to provide these important resources for Olim in this region to be able to partake in it.”

Judges at the pitch night were Shariel Gun, who heads the joint KKL - Nefesh B'Nefesh “Go Beyond” initiative; Yosef Abramowitz, CEO of Energiya Global Capital and Co-Founder of the Arava Power Company; Amanda Borschel-Dan, Jewish World Editor at The Times of Israel; Beth Newmark, General Partner of Emmaleh Student Housing in Be’er Sheva; and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

The boot camp in the south is part of a larger effort to energize Israel’s periphery through the joint KKL-NBN “Go Beyond” initiative, which provides financial incentives and logistical resources for new Olim to move to those non-central regions, including enhanced Aliyah grants, personalized pilot trips, career counseling and resources, personalized education and community guidance, and other benefits.

To date, more than 2,000 new Olim from North America have chosen to live in Israel’s south, and since the beginning of May, more than 350 Olim have made Aliyah from the United States and Canada to the Israeli periphery thanks to “Go Beyond.”