>>Wed Jan 5, 2011
PresenTense's Co-Director, Aharon Horwitz, recently gave an exclusive interview on social entrepreneurship for We Blog The World, a website that brings together bloggers from all around the world to create dialog about travel, culture and ideas.
Aharon spoke to Haegwan Kim, a writer from Japan, about his idea of success, why he believes so much in social entrepreneurship and the Jewish community, and his one piece of advice on how anyone can be successful. Here's your chance to hear about the motivations behind one of PT's cofounders!
Read the entire interview here.
>>Wed Jul 7, 2010
South African Turns Political Statement Into Trendy Fashion Statement
PresenTense Fellow David Kramer increases awareness of Israeli causes and charitable organizations through his new clothing brand.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – July 7, 2010 – David Kramer is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Kramer, a Fellow at the PresenTense 2010 Global Summer Institute, is making political statements fashionable with the NU Campaign, an Israeli clothing brand dedicated to raising social awareness and funding for important Israeli causes and charitable organizations.
As a Summer Fellow at the prestigious six-week Institute, Kramer joins fifteen other budding Jewish social entrepreneurs from America, Israel, Australia, and the UK to gain the skills and connections necessary to launch their ventures to benefit the Jewish world at large.
"The 2010 Fellows represent some of the most innovative Jewish minds today. They are embarking on projects that have the potential to transform Jewish life here in Jerusalem and around the world," commented Flo Low, Chair of the Institute Steering Committee.
>>Thu May 13, 2010
Congratulations to the Jerusalem Winter Fellows on an amazing Launch Night! They rocked the house with their innovative ventures, and everyone was impressed by their short and pithy pitches, creative tables, and nonstop enthusiasm. Of course, now launch night is only the beginning, as they now work to continue to grow their ventures. We wish them much success!
We apologize again for the Livestream problems last night (technology is great... except for when it malfunctions) and wish you were all there live to see the pitches!
But - we've got lots of media you can check out. View the slideshow, and watch video of our fellows' pitches!
Video of pitches (only 7.5 minutes long!):
>>Fri Apr 16, 2010
What is the difference between entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, and what model are we using for the PresenTense Fellowships?
Most people agree that a successful social venture requires many of the same skill sets and models as successful non-social ventures. For example, Richard Dale of Sigma Ventures led a skillbuilding session for the Boston fellows on Budgeting for Social Ventures, and emphasized the importance of financial planning. He showed the fellows how budgets for non-profits and social ventures are often more complex than those of for-profit ventures because of the double bottom line: organizations need to measure both financial and social returns. He references Jim Collins' Monograph, "Good to Great and the Social Sectors," who tackles the issue of how to measure impact and success for non-financial goals. Richard explained how budgets for social ventures (and all ventures) must be strategic: the fellows' budgets must reflect decisions or plans for how to apply resources to objectives. Here we see that social ventures actually need strong business models more than for-profit ventures do, since there are multiple objectives.
Unfortunately, social ventures, especially non-profits, often get a bad rap for holding themselves to less-than-perfect business standards. Non-profits stereotypically have poor management, fuzzy financial planning, and lousy project management. But we know that in order for social ventures to be successful both financially and socially, they need to have extra solid management, financial planning, and project management. A social entrepreneur must have business training that is just as strong as any other entrepreneur.
The CJP/PresenTense Boston Social Entrepreneur Fellowship prides itself on basing its curriculum around core business training that is relevant to starting any kind of new venture. We have chosen mentors and skillbuilders from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors with the understanding that the practices of the for-profit world are extremely relevant to our fellows who are starting social ventures to make change in the Jewish world. Our social entrepreneurs are also regular entrepreneurs.
Therefore, I would like to propose that we consider re-naming the PresenTense-style of social entrepreneurship to JEWISH ENTREPRENEURSHIP*. Together we are making change in the Jewish world, using sound business training and learning from entrepreneurs and innovators in all fields.
If you have any thoughts on this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
*Disclaimer: This is my own thinking and does not reflect the thinking of the PresenTense staff as a whole.
>>Sun Apr 11, 2010
Do you have an idea that could improve Cleveland and its Jewish community? Do you know people who do? Perhaps you're a student with an idea to engage Jews on campus? Maybe you're a tech entrepreneur that has an idea that will create jobs, and connections with Israeli investors? Maybe you're a teacher with an idea that can transform your school? Perhaps you're an agency professional and know how to solve an important problem? Perhaps you're a young Clevelander who wants to see more arts and culture for 20 and 30 year olds?
The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland and PresenTense want to help bring your idea to life. Pitch us your concept, or forward this blog to others who might. The three selected entrepreneurs will be fully funded by the Jewish Community Federation to spend six weeks at the PresenTense Summer Institute in Jerusalem where they'll learn from and connect to some of the most renowned leaders in business, startups, venture capital, education, culture and more. Upon their return to Cleveland, they'll have their idea incubated by the Jewish community complete with a stipend to provide a runway for launch -- as well as mentorship from the Cleveland Jewish community's communal, social innovation and business leaders.
Make it happen, and change Cleveland for the better.
Applications are due by April 15th at 5pm, and are reviewed on a rolling basis, so APPLY TODAY. Three will be accepted. It could be you.
For examples of entrepreneurs who have been accepted, and more information about the Fellowship, check out www.clevelandfellowship.
>>Mon Feb 22, 2010
Sari founded Shatil, the New Israel Fund's empowerment and training center "to promote democracy, tolerance, and social justice in Israel" in 1982, within a year of making aliyah. Apparently these goals weren't lofty enough because Sari found the time and energy to then found Yedid, an organization devoted to addressing citizen's needs locally through a series of Citizens Rights Centers. As I understood it, these CRCs deal with everything ranging from tutoring children in underserved communities to helping people file for bankruptcy to enrolling citizens in social benefits -- in short a "catch-all" kind of empowerment organization. The accomplishments of this serial social entrepreneur would be very impressive for someone in their native country and all are the more astounding for someone who took upon this challenge in a foreign tongue and (initially) foreign land!
So what's challenging Sari now? The forecast that non-profits will be expected to generate a substantial proportion of their budgets internally within the next decade. That is to say, the economic climate has shed light on an interesting problem: as the rich get poorer, the poor may suffer as well. I must admit that when I first heard this, my heart sank. I thought, "Isn't it enough that non-profits devote their efforts to societal needs?" But on closer examination, this may be a redemptive model for non-profits. If the likes of the recession and he-who-shall-not-be-named (rhymes with Radoff) were ever to teach a lesson, it is that protecting those that cannot protect themselves should be first priority.
So how can we do this and what good can come of it? 'Teach a man to fish' comes to mind -- though it may be a tired aphorism, particularly in the non-profit sector! The lessons of empowerment in this case would be for the directors, designers, and creators of non-profit ventures. In other words, the time has come for the teachers to become students themselves -- learning sustainability and the value of profitable side-arms in enrichment projects. What could this look like? I have heard of local bakeries staffed by troubled teens and soup kitchens, open to the public, with a pushkeh (changebox) centerpiece. Both projects seem to have a remez (a hint) of this spirit, though I don't think either model has proven fully sustainable yet (know of an successful example? I'd love to see it!). I love the ikar (main point/focus) and kavana (intention) of these projects and would love to see sustainable business plans developed for projects like these and others that address society's troubled sectors . . . so I'm off to find a teacher, some fishing line, and a bamboo stalk -- I've got some learning to do! Think my sustainability plan can include a beer? I hear that's crucial to the fishing experience!
>>Mon Jan 18, 2010
We are inviting European Entrepreneurs from across the Continent to apply to our Summer Institute, where your socially conscious venture can grow and succeed. Europe faces many serious issues today: urban poverty, rising Anti-Semitism, economic struggle. Your venture can help to alleviate these problems, and we can arm you to maximize the economic value of whatever idea you bring to the table.
Apply now at www.presentensefellowship.com
>>Tue Dec 29, 2009
Do you have an innovative idea that will engage, leverage, and inspire the Jewish community? Are you or someone you know passionate about social change?
The PresenTense Summer Institute, a six week boot camp for social entrepreneurs, is accepting general applications for the 2010 summer fellowship. The deadline to apply for general applications is January 1, 2010.
At the Summer Institute you will:
- Learn the essential business skills and tools to develop your venture
- Develop your venture while being mentored by experts in your field
- Be part of a community of social entrepreneurs, network with similarly minded peers and share ideas, skills, and knowledge
This is your last chance to make a difference. Apply today!
>>Mon Nov 30, 2009