Spark IL aims to empower small businesses in the Israeli periphery

The platform, currently being established by the Jewish Agency and Ogen Group, aims to enable small impact investors from around the world to provide interest-free social loans to small businesses.

Illustrative photo of Israeli money (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Illustrative photo of Israeli money
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Israeli peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Spark IL has received an operation license from the Capital Market Authority.

The platform, currently being established by the Jewish Agency and Ogen Group, aims to enable small impact investors from around the world to provide interest-free social loans to small businesses in Israel.

“Spark IL is a project built to improve the financial health of small businesses and their access to credit,” said Sagi Balsha, CEO of the Ogen Group. “The project will help hundreds of small businesses in the Galilee, the Negev and the social periphery to prosper, and thus contribute to the integration of the periphery into the Israeli economy.”

Spark IL is a public benefit company established to allow Jewish investors to strengthen the Israeli periphery through direct financial support for small business owners who are usually excluded from the commercial financial system.

“The Spark IL platform will enable social investors from around the Jewish world to connect with Israel in an innovative way in accordance with their interests and personal choices, and take a significant part in strengthening Israeli society and empowering local entrepreneurs,” said Amira Aharonovich, CEO of the Jewish Agency.

The Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)The Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Spark IL is backed by the Jewish Agency, which is developing initiatives to strengthen the strategic link between Israel and the Diaspora; as well as Ogen Group, which provides credit to underprivileged populations and small businesses.

Ogen Group is a social finance group which includes six nonprofit organizations that deal with credit, financial support and the mentoring of households, small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Israel. In 2021, it has distributed approximately NIS 200 million in loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals experiencing hardship.

Spark IL is expected to begin operations in two months.

The Spark IL platform was made possible due to the generosity of the Max M. and Marjorie Fisher Foundation, the UJA Federation of New York, the Kirsch Foundation and other supporters.