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Olim who who want to start or expand businesses will be eligible for inexpensive loans of up to NIS 70,000, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced Monday.
The loans will be available for 10 years from the date of aliya for most olim. Ethiopian olim will have 15 years of eligibility, while returning citizens will have two years. The loans can be returned over six years.
Up until now, immigrant entrepreneurs were eligible for loans of up to NIS 35,000.
Bank Hapoalim will provide the loans, which the borrower won't have to begin repaying for the first year. The oleh will have to provide three guarantors, or two guarantors and collateral.
For some home businesses, NIS 20,000 would be enough, a spokesperson for the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce said. But for businesses that require real estate, expensive inventory or sophisticated machinery, NIS 70,000 would not be enough to get started, the spokesperson said.
The ministry said it would subsidize the establishment of 12 business centers throughout the country that will provide advice and assistance to olim seeking to open or expand their businesses.
The ministry said it would also establish a special business information hot line. The hot line will provide business information in Hebrew, English, French, Russian and Spanish around the clock.