Gvahim starts program for immigrant entrepreneurs

58 percent of olim are either working on a potential business or interested in setting up a business.

By NADAV SHEMER
January 24, 2012 23:24
1 minute read.
‘THEHIVE’ - Accelerator program for immigrants

‘THEHIVE’ - Accelerator program for immigrants 311. (photo credit: Gvahim)

Gvahim, a non-profit organization supporting highly skilled olim, launched “TheHive,” its accelerator program for immigrant entrepreneurs, at an official ceremony in Tel Aviv on Monday night.

Eight start-ups, each with at least one immigrant on board, have already begun participating in TheHive’s first six-month program. Participants have access to a common-work space at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality’s Center for Young Adults. They also receive mentorship guidance, business advice, attend workshops, events and conferences, and receive introductions to investors and loan institutions.

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The selected start-ups for the first program are working on various projects, including mobile and social-media applications, and the exportation of military products.

For example, Parko, the brainchild of a South African oleh and a native Israeli, is developing a smartphone application that will solve the problem of finding parking in congested cities using advanced technology and crowd sourcing.

Cynthia Phitoussi, who together with fellow French immigrant Audrey Chocron, is TheHive’s co-director, told The Jerusalem Post that the accelerator was created to utilize the untapped potential of Israel’s young olim.

“We saw that they [olim] had good ideas and often a different set of marketing and commercial skills that Israelis lack,” Phitoussi said, “and that the only things they were missing were connections and knowledge of the local market.”

The percentage of entrepreneurs among immigrants is three times higher than among native Israelis, according to Gvahim.

An online survey the nonprofit conducted last year found that 58 percent of olim are either working on a potential business or interested in setting up a business, while 25% already own a business in Israel or abroad.


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