Throughout history, there has been a legacy of Jewish exceptionalism in the field of entrepreneurship and business success. That tradition has continued in modern day America, with many of the most successful companies having been founded by Jewish people.
The Orthodox community is no exception to this rule; in fact, we are arguably living in a generation where more individuals in our community- both men and women- are starting their own businesses than ever before. With the advent of the internet and advanced communication, barriers to entry that once existed to starting a business have fallen. Opportunities now exist for people to launch, source, contact and create in ways that would have been unthinkable as recently as 15-20 years ago.
With this explosion in entrepreneurship comes significant potential reward for individuals and for our community; success in business can allow for earnings that far exceed even those of the most successful professionals. This increase in financial success will also lead to job growth and meaningful funding for communal priorities and charities.
There is, however, a much-needed reality check when it comes to understanding the risks that every entrepreneur faces. In addition, it behooves our community to do an internal reckoning of what we can do to help mitigate some of those risks.
According to many studies, businesses fail, on average, at a 90% rate. This occurs for many reasons, including lack of proper funding and capitalization, not having a market fit for the core product, improper decision making, etc. While failure at a job may result in a waste of time and effort, failure in the world of business can also mean both personal financial loss and loss of other people (often friends and family) money.
It is therefore incumbent upon us as a community to do everything we can to provide start-up businesses and business owners with a platform that will help them start, grow and scale their businesses responsibly.
Tribeworks is the collaboration of 13 Jewish, non-profit business assistance organizations across the country, including CHYE, EPI Network, JCC Marine Park, TJE, JWE and Exceed network with the support of national Jewish organizations and major Jewish media outlets including COLlive.com, to create a unified start-up platform for Jewish entrepreneurs.
Tribeworks partner organizations provide over 4,000 active businesses with everything from interest-free loan funding of up to $50k, free office space in Manhattan and New Jersey, mentorship and guidance, access to venture and angel funding, relationships with retail buyers nationally and internationally, localized business education and ongoing business conferences.
The Tribeworks collaboration will host its second major event for early-stage businesses on December 10th in Staten Island, NY. Attendees will get a chance to meet one-on-one and hear from C.E.O.s and Vice Presidents of Fortune 500 companies, Harvard, Touro and YU Sy Syms Business School professors, current and past retail buyers, ex-Amazon employees and sellers, venture capitalists and angel investors, as well as marketing and branding experts.
Attendees can also meet with EPI and The Hebrew Free Loan Society to get pre-approved for up to $50,000 in interest-free loans, meet with a mentor coordinator to be matched with a mentor for their business, and so much more. Registration is open at tribeworks.org.
Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, director of CHYE, shares that this event has something for every type of business. “Participants can expect to walk away with tools and connections to take their business to the next level,” Werde says.
For the full event schedule visit tribeworks.org