Ringelblum Caf'e in Bear-Sheva
JAFI's Loan Funds support Young communities to establish and expand small businesses in Israel's priority regions
In the past month, two loans were approved for small businesses of Young Communities in the Negev - a vineyard at Mitspeh Ramon and a neighborhood caf'e in Beersheba. The loans were granted by the Ness Loan Fund, established by the Jewish Agency through donations from the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
These two ventures are only a sample of an exciting process which is evolving across Israel - the creation of social-economic ventures that are run by Young Communities in the Negev, Galilee and Jerusalem.
The Jewish Agency's business loan funds support the success of new businesses, and the development and expansion of existing businesses, particularly in Israel's periphery regions. In so doing the funds help to reduce unemployment and act as a driving force for economic growth.
The principal approach behind the Priority Regions Division's work is the belief that realizing the development potential of Israel's periphery, and creating a climate for the development of economic ventures and social opportunities, will generate change and growth in these areas that need support, and for developing Israel's community-based strength.
As such the division also works to strengthen and establish Young Communities whose members choose to live in the periphery, on a permanent basis, and who initiate and operate a range of social ventures in the areas of education, the community and welfare in their areas.
Providing loans for Young Communities' ventures provides as springboard to new working alliances for the advancement of periphery regions, both in terms of their economic and social welfare.
The Kama community near Beersheba opened Ringelblum Caf'e around eighteen months ago and has now applied for a loan in order to expand the caf?. The caf'e personnel employ and train youth at risk and, in so doing, provide them with life skills and a considerable community and social network that helps them to grow on an individual basis in their complex daily milieu.
The Midbara Ka'Eden community lives at Mitspeh Ramon and is in the process of establishing a vineyard. The new venture is designed to generate new life in the desert region, create jobs for the community members and also to encourage them to remain in the region.
These two ventures offer significant social vision for the region and, at the same time, their success is all the more important in providing future sources of livelihood for the communities which have set their future in these national priority regions.