The aim is to provide a conducive atmosphere to encourage Haredim to join the shared workspace.
By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News
Amid the longstanding challenge in Israel to encourage Haredi yeshiva students to join the workforce, Bizmax stands out as an example of how it can be done.
Bizmax describes itself as “an innovative business center for ultra-Orthodox men, residents of Jerusalem, operated in cooperation with the KMAH Foundation, the Jerusalem Development Authority, and Achim, and operates as part of the ultra-Orthodox integration project in the employment market.
“The business complex operates as a business-community hub, addressing the ultra-Orthodox community in order to develop and upgrade business owners, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, and to bring their business to a better place, producing and succeeding, while saving and streamlining maintenance and management,” says Bizmax, as cited on the www.spacing.co.il website.
Bizmax is a shared workspace, which is a popular concept, but in this case, all the entrepreneurs are Haredi Jews, which is not so common.
“The high-tech industry is very fit for the Haredim,” says Yitzik Crombie, CEO of Bizmax, speaking to Arutz Sheva. He has also been involved in founding the Haredi Hi-Tech Forum.
Unlike many other sectors, the hi-tech industry allows for the fulfillment of religious obligations because of its flexible schedule, he says.
Crombie founded Bizmax two years ago in the Israeli capital, where more than a third of the Jewish population is said to be comprised of Haredim. The Haredi Hi-Tech Forum is based in Bnei Brak, a Haredi-dominated city near Tel Aviv.
Crombie says that 5,000 Haredim, including 1,500 men, currently work in hi-tech, which is a very popular industry in Israel overall.
“When I was looking for partners I found myself lonely,” explains Crombie. “The secret source of the start-up nation is an ecosystem. Everyone knows each other,” either by meeting socially or through Israeli military service.
That, he says, is how he came up with the idea of Bizmax.
Some 100 entrepreneurs are said to have joined so far. Crombie says that it aims not only to serve as a shared workspace but also a network of shared values to make it conducive for Haredim to start their own businesses.
All the food at the office is kosher. The internet is filtered to block content that is considered religiously inappropriate. What’s more, only men can rent a workspace.
The office is open 24 hours a day, with the exception of the Sabbath and Jewish religious holidays when work is prohibited.
Achim Global, a firm supporting Haredi entrepreneurs, partners with Bizmax and has opened another space with the same concept.
Its shared workspace in Bnei Brak is twice the size of the one in Jerusalem.
Motti Eichler, one of Achim Global’s founders, told Arutz Sheva: “We are opening one in Ashdod beginning 2019,” adding that he has ambitions to spread outside Israel as well, specifically in London and New York.