Social Enterprise in the Heart of Tel Aviv

Posted by on Oct 7, 2012 in News |  

On Monday, May 7th, 2012, an innovative social enterprise, the only one of its kind in Israel, opened its doors. Situated in the heart of Tel Aviv’s bustling center, on the corner of Dizengoff and Basel, KelimShluvim*, the most recent addition to IVN’s Social Venture portfolio, sells a wide range of products made by adults with mental disorders, youth-at-risk, elderly and marginalized populations.

Under the umbrella of ShikumAcher, KelimShluvim provides employment opportunities and a supportive work environment in the store for up to 15 employees (in 3 shifts) with mental disorders and a professional and respectable infrastructure, platform and opportunity for a wide number of NGO’s and sheltered workshops to market and sell their products.

Michal Topaz, Executive Director of ShikumAcher: “8 years ago, while doing my undergraduate degree, I volunteered at the Geha Psychiatric Hospital. This was the first time that I was exposed to people with mental disorders as well as the widespread social stigma with which they must contend. As a result I established ShikumAcher, an NGO committed to developing progressive rehabilitative frameworks which provide employment opportunities for people with mental health issues. The success of ShikumAcher motivated me to open this store, which provides a resource for disadvantaged people and the NGO’s that serve them.”

Work plays a key role in how we live our everyday lives, how we define ourselves to our families and communities, and how they – in turn – see and define us. KelimShluvim not only helps a large number of nonprofits increase the income they generate, making them less dependent on philanthropic contributions, but in parallel increases employment opportunities for those disabled and marginalized people who often face barriers in finding suitable work and helps to inspire and empower them.

Tomer, one of KelimShluvim’s shift managers: “I suffer from depression and borderline personality disorder. Working here, being able to immerse myself in day- to-day tasks, helps me maintain equilibrium, fills me with pride and is helping me integrate back into society.”

KelimShluvim is funded by Israel’s National Insurance Institute, the Ministry of Health and Bank Hapoalim. This support is leveraged by the added value provided by IVN. KelimShluvim recently joined IVN’s Social Venture portfolio. As such, they not only receive financing from co-investors IVN and the Rashi Foundation, but more importantly they undergo mentoring by IVN members who are among the leading business entrepreneurs in Israel and the US with years of business, strategic, marketing, funding, technical, and financial expertise to share, as well as capacity building, providing them with the various tools necessary to develop a stable infrastructure. This comprehensive 2-year program enables social ventures to become self-sustaining and ensures their longevity and continued impact. Mrs. Michal Kahan, KelimShluvim’s dedicated IVN mentor, is currently the CEO of Lev El. Prior to Lev El Michal was a Director of Marketing for Broadcom Corporation (NADAQ: BRCM) and co-founder of Dune networks in 2001 which was then acquired by Broadcom in Dec 2009. Michal’s decades of experience in business, sales and marketing are priceless in her guidance and support of this venture.

Michal Kahan: “As an IVN mentor, I have the opportunity to use my years of experience in the field of marketing to support and nurture this amazing social enterprise. I hope to be able to help the team formulate a professional, business orientated marketing strategy that will not only help this business sustain itself, but prosper and grow and hopefully duplicate itself in other prime locations.” Against our changing world and new economic backdrop, this new sector of social enterprise is emerging. KelimShluvim is bringing this budding sector to the heart of Tel Aviv.

*KelimShluvim (meaning: Connected vessels – when liquid in a number of connected containers balances out to the same level in all of the containers regardless of their shape and volume)