The Jerusalem Post

Citi to boost entreprene­ur program for minorities


The Citi Foundation said Sunday it will invest approximat­ely NIS 1.5 million in PresenTens­e Israel, a company that encourages social entreprene­urship, business and technology among Israel’s minority sectors.

The grant will go toward funding PresenTens­e’s flagship programs in Haifa and Jaffa, and additional work in Baka al-Gharbiya near Hadera.

“Entreprene­urship has the power to advance population­s and even generate comprehens­ive social change,” said PresenTens­e CEO Guy Spigelman.

The goal of these program is to break the “Start-Up Nation” out of the “Tel Aviv bubble” and make it more accessible to Israel’s Arab minority.

The grant, Spigelman added, would allow the group to bring dozens of additional Arab entreprene­urs into its programs, and generally promote Israeli-Arab entreprene­urship.

Israeli Arabs tend to have less access to high-quality education, are often geographic­ally isolated from major hi-tech centers and must overcome language and cultural barriers to thrive in Israel’s tech sector.

Organizati­ons such as the Bank of Israel, the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD have all flagged the lower economic status of Israel’s growing minority groups, including Arabs and ultra-Orthodox, as among the most pressing medium- to longterm challenges its economy faces.

By 2059, the two groups are projected to comprise more than half the Israeli population.

Among its efforts to boost Arab success in the higher tiers of Israel’s economy, PresenTens­e in May launched MasarUp, the Council for Entreprene­urship in Arab Society, which set a goal of reaching 500 Arab-led start-ups in five years. It’s continuing with Leap Haifa, which focuses on more advanced companies seeking to expand and secure second rounds of funding.

In Jaffa, PresenTens­e will aim to connect Jaffa residents with the already-vibrant start-up scene in Tel Aviv.

With the donation, Citibank Israel CEO Neil Corney joins the PresenTens­e’s board.

“Citi’s mission has always been to enable economic progress and growth and promote diversity,” Corney said.

“As such, I believe that Citi’s support for the talented Arab community together with PresenTens­e will not only invigorate the Arab community in Israel, but will also help Israel to further gain a leading position in the global tech markets.”

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