Chanan Kaufman, founder and CEO of NextDor, is setting out to educate and mentor aspiring young Jewish social entrepreneurs.
An innovator and serial entrepreneur in Jewish outreach, leadership development, Israel advocacy, and business education, Chanan has founded several non-profit and for-profit companies. He is a pioneer in establishing organizations that drive social change, including Aish New York, Jerusalem Fellowships, GoInspire, and Bizrael Connections.
For many people, being involved in just one pioneering organization would be a lifetime achievement. So why, after all the other achievements on his curriculum vitae, did Chanan Kaufman create NextDor?
NextDor was born out of the realization that in the 21st century, non-profits can’t survive let alone achieve greatness unless they are run like a business. The organization strives to empower the next generation of Jewish leaders to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to build financially sustainable non-profits and launch successful community initiatives.
“I experienced mistakes and inefficiencies running my own initiatives without solid business models and proper mentorship. In hindsight, these could have been avoided. It’s a crime for the next generation of Jewish leaders not to have the advantage of learning from our experience,” Chanan says.
Chanan and his team explain that entrepreneurial sensibilities can and must be applied to Jewish causes. Building non-profits with sustainable business models is the only way to ensure success.
Israel is known as The Start-Up Nation. We already have an entire culture of innovation. Even in the non-profit sector, Israeli organizations are at the forefront of change. United Hatzalah, Yad Sarah, and Nefesh B’Nefesh are fitting examples of innovative organizations. So what makes NextDor and its role in Israel unique?
“What is unique”, says Chanan, “is with whom we are dealing: Aspiring leaders in the chasidic, chareidi, and yeshivah frum world. Israel is full of business-minded innovation, but the gap – the lack of training – that exists in the frum community is big. We are committed to bringing well-established 21st century business models to organizations in these communities.”
Estie Rand, marketing maven and the CMO of NextDor, notes: “NextDor fills in the missing pieces many frum leaders lack in their education. Since many haven’t pursued higher education in business or non-profit management, they aren’t exposed to concepts in business strategy, marketing, budgeting, fundraising and more, which are critical to the success of any non-profit. Through our courses, we provide these invaluable skill sets.”
NextDor strives to bridge the gap, helping talented aspiring Jewish leaders develop the skills they need to thrive through the NextDor Accelerator Program.
The Times of Israel has previously reported that there are over 200 start-up accelerators in Israel. Many are located in the heart of Tel Aviv’s start-up center where high tech gurus congregate. Accelerators differ in scope, intensity, and investment levels. And, like Ms. Rand noted, they aim to educate entrepreneurs on the business concepts that they did not learn in college. Even highly educated professionals, such as engineers and computer programmers, do not typically have the opportunity to learn about important business areas like marketing during their degrees.
The NextDor Accelerator is an 8-week intensive course designed to support young social entrepreneurs who want to grow an existing non-profit or launch a new initiative. Participants get to collaborate with one another as well as learn from and network with an all-star team of mentors, veterans from the business and non-profit world with invaluable lessons to share.
What does a day in the NextDor program look like? Days kick off with presentations by world class industry experts, which are followed by insightful Q&A sessions. Next, participants work on their initiatives in one-on-one or small groups workshops. Other mentors visit, share about their own endeavors and mingle with participants. Finally, every week a participant presents their vision, the challenges they are facing, and their action plan to the group, receiving valuable constructive feedback.
The Accelerator is designed to help social entrepreneurs boost their success. “The program is dedicated to helping people succeed and become future leaders for the next generation. We have a great team of mentors with decades of experience. We help you with your business plan, implementation, goal setting, and launch. We even celebrate together. After your organization is launched, we are there to support you, like a family for life,” Chanan explains.
One of NextDor’s main assets is their mentors, who are committed to sharing their wisdom, insights and personal experience with the next generation of Jewish leaders. Some notable mentors are:
Yitz Greenman, Executive Director of Aish NY and Aish International, and one of the leading fundraisers in the Jewish world.
Charlie Harary, an internationally known lecturer, businessmen,and radio hosts who teaches social entrepreneurship at the Syms School of Business
- Edana Desatnick, top corporate consultant and coach with expertise in team development.
- Mark Biderman, treasurer and CFO of a number of major organizations and public companies.
- Dovid Felsenthal, Head of the OU’s Next Gen initiatives and an accomplished social entrepreneur for Jewish causes.
- Ben Wiener, Venture Capitalist in the Jerusalem start-up scene, heads a chareidi hi-tech incubator in Jerusalem.
- Eli Beer, founder and President of United Hatzalah.
- Rabbi Nachum Stilerman, senior consultant and fundraising coach with 55 years of experience, has led scores of multi-million dollar campaigns.
- Sylvain Blumenfrucht, entrepreneur, businessman and cofounder of Campus Ein Chemed in Jerusalem which trains chareidi young adults for the work force.
- Shaindy Babad, head of Temach and the Jerusalem Hub, is one of the leading figures in training chareidi women for the workforce and helping them launch their own companies.
Ben Wiener, Managing Partner of Jumpspeed Ventures adds “I am fully committed to assisting and enhancing the Jerusalem entrepreneurial ecosystem. I look forward to helping the NextDor program participants reach their entrepreneurial potential.”
“One thing I know,” Chanan promises, “is that whoever is accepted into the program will gain a great deal of practical knowledge and make connections with influential leaders that will be useful for their entire careers.”
NextDor Accelerator programs are set to launch in Jerusalem (Fridays, 6/17 – 8/5), New York (Sundays, 5/29 – 7/17), and Los Angeles (Sundays, 6/5 – 7/24). Just 19 positions are open in each city, and spots are beginning to fill up. To learn more about the program or register today, visit NextDor Accelerator. Scholarships are available.