“And then we truly understood the extent of the need. Businesses from the north and the south of all sizes and from different sectors, all wanting one thing: to get back to work.”
The war’s impact on the Israeli economy will be long lasting. How the shekel can be stabilized, which government funds to invest where and other such questions are major concerns confronting our country.
But in the midst of the bigger picture, what about small and medium-sized businesses in the South and North? How will they exist and grow when their owners and customers have been evacuated and displaced, premises abandoned or destroyed? These businesses collectively play a significant role in the economy itself and their regrowth is vital.
Simultaneously affected by the war was the academic year. Delayed by over two months, returning students not in reserve duty were idle. Their education was at a standstill. Talented students and graduates were in limbo without lectures or activities.
As a direct response to this dual reality, the HUBS Aid Project was founded. Spearheaded by Hebrew University Business School faculty member, Professor Renana Peres, the initiative has brought together education and economy, and the project is now operating with 40 mentors, 79 businesses and 120 students. Each of the mentors, high ranking professionals in the industry, is guiding a team of three students driven by one goal: get their particular businesses back on its feet as quickly as possible. This is being achieved through developing a strategic “roadmap” with specific milestones centered around matters such as marketing, researching avenues of financial support and attracting clientele.
Beyond the practical element, the success of HUBS Aid has extended into forming cross-sector relationships. For example, Noam Bend, a high-tech entrepreneur, is working with Schnitzelya in Ma’alot. Alon Zamir, owner of Yummy, Quik, and Director in the Second Authority, is working with a team of students at a cafe in Sderot. Rachel Shmueli, former CEO of Assuta Ashdod Hospital, is assisting a bridal salon in Netivot. Sarah Gal, advertising executive in the Haredi sector, is working with a team of students at a gaming company in Shuvah.
Ultimately, HUBS Aid is more than just yet one more initiative. It draws together academics, the current and the future generations of entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders. While “the economic activity of these businesses is worth a lot of money to the State of Israel, what’s worth much more is the action, the recovery, and the hope.”
This post was written in collaboration with Eden Talker, Hebrew University Business School student and marketing team writer. The original Hebrew interview with Professor Renana Peres conducted by Eden Talker can be found here.