JCT Launches “Yazam BaLev” Accelerator Program

“Even Avraham – the first Jewish entrepreneur – didn’t receive the support he deserved”

Hundreds of Haredim participated in an introductory conference – the first of its kind – for training of religious hi-tech entrepreneurs. Stuart Hershkowitz, who established the program, states: “we will provide every participant with the help they need to achieve an exit.”

 Hundreds of Haredim participated in “Yazam BaLev”, an introductory conference – the first of its kind – for training of religious hi-tech entrepreneurs, which was held last Thursday at the Jerusalem College of Technology – Lev Academic Center (JCT). This accelerator program will provide support and training for participants, in order to assist them in realizing their ventures. As of the event, some twenty ventures had been presented, and ten have already applied to the program. As part of the program, entrepreneurs who are accepted into the program will undergo an intensive training program for 14 weeks, preparing them to present before investors and attempt to raise investments for establishing a start-up company. As of now, the program staff is in the process of selecting ventures for the program, favoring applicants with the highest potential for success.

During the event, Ben Wiener, mentor of the program and manager of venture capital “Jumpspeed Ventures,” presented the training curriculum and explained the ideal guiding the entrepreneurs. “Avraham was essentially the first Jewish entrepreneur. He left everything familiar and went after what he believed in, despite the fact that he received no support from those around him,” explained Wiener. “We want to take on people who believe in what they’re doing, and who want to actualize their potential.”

“We are proud to be the first academic institution to assist Haredi entrepreneurs, continuing our tradition of excellence in the hi-tech field,” says Stuart Hershkowitz, Senior Advisor to the President of JCT and initiator of the Accelerator program. “There are hundreds of entrepreneurs with immense potential in the religious and Haredi sectors, there are innovative ideas and all they need is a chance to grow, we are doing everything in our power in order to enable each participant to achieve an exit in the best possible way.”

Jonathan Caras, a graduate of JCT who developed a venture of his own – a video texting app, which later became the company “Glide” spoke at the conference. He detailed the steps he took to reach where he is today and explained how one can take an idea and develop it into a start-up. “It takes a great deal of investment and effort, but if you believe in yourself, you can go far,” said Caras.

This is a unique Accelerator program, optimized for the Haredi sector, which will provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to develop their ideas into start-ups. The goal of the program is to take entrepreneurs in their very first steps or even prior and guide them step-by-step in order to create a successful start-up.

 The entrepreneurs will participate in a set program, headed and guided by leading personalities in the Israeli hi-tech industry, who will guide them in the process of launching the company and finding investors. Participants will meet regularly with senior managers and investors and will receive exposure and assistance in launching their start-up companies.