Shalom Life | April 10, 2014

Israeli Organization Launches Startup Accelerator To Benefit the Disabled

PresenTense, a primarily volunteer-run agency, has launched an accelerator that will groom startups to address the needs of people with disabilities

By: Sophie Imas

Published: February 19th, 2014 in Business » Israel

PresenTense, a largely volunteer-run community of innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world, “who are investing their ideas and energy to revitalize the Jewish community,” has partnered with Beit Issie Shapiro and The Rudeman Family Foundation to launch the new Accelerating Inclusion in Israel (A3i), the world’s first accelerator focused on solutions to the needs of the disabled.

“Accelerating Inclusion in Israel will transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities in Israel and across the world,” Guy Spigelman, PresenTense CEO, tells NoCamels. “The innovative technologies and social ventures are an expression of PresenTense’s strategy to transform the startup nation to a ground up nation – where the tools of entrepreneurship are made available to all, for the benefit of all.”

This very idea of social change is what brought the organization, which already has projects across Israel, including a startup accelerator for Israeli Arabs, to collaborate with the Beit Issie Shapiro and The Rudeman Family Foundation, which advocates for the inclusion of people with disabilities. From this collaboration emerged A3i, a program combining intense training, mentorship, one-on-one consulting and community engagement, to help entrepreneurs catalyze their ideas into fully-fledged ventures which might improve the lives of people with disabilities. PresenTense already has more than 30 volunteers on board, as well five employees.

The program consists of three steps: establishing a community, the accelerator itself and the launch of the product. Throughout the process, the organization plays by the motto “time before money,” putting more emphasis on hands-on assistance rather than financial aid. “We believe that if we just give entrepreneurs money, they don’t know what to do with it. But if we help them define their venture, their lives will be much easier and the venture will be better developed,” Freidlin says.

The program hosts a diverse team, with staff working with the entrepreneurs, trainers who work on the ventures themselves (focusing on software skills), two social business consultants (who develop the business model) and Freidlin, the director. Together, they provide assistance with marketing research, prototypes, social business models and branding to equipp their participants with the tools for success.

Bringing out the best in the startup nation

Ranging from high tech startups to more social oriented ideas, the program has attracted some very promising innovations. Among them, an iPhone platform for people with paralysis to operate their phones with their eyelids and a discount consumption club for those with disabilities. “This project has made me look at disabilities in a very positive and powerful way. This is about more than just the project, it’s an incredibly inspiring journey,” Freidlin says.

The accelerator was officially opened last Monday. The launch of the ventures themselves will be in June 2014, with guests from the Beit Issie Shapiro and The Rudeman Family Foundation, as well as investors, philanthropists and others.

Inspiring social change across the globe

PresenTense has branches in 18 different cities, on three continents. “ In Israel, we work with entrepreneurs at sites all across the country,” Daniel Freidlin, director of the A3i project, says. “Actually, just 12 percent of Israel’s population really gains from the startup nation. So, we work with different communities around Israel, trying to mobilize people from different layers of society by entrepreneurship and helping them develop their project. This is all part of building a ground up nation, from bottom to top, rather than a startup nation,” Freidlin says.

PresenTense also sees their work as a key for social change. The company now has six venture accelerators in Israel, all focusing on social projects. “We’re doing a tech accelerator for Israeli Arabs, being the first of its kind. Although this is a tech accelerator, it’s nonetheless very social. If you’re giving certain communities the opportunity to grow and develop their projects, we believe that is social change,” Freidlin continues.

Reprinted with permission from No Camels - Israeli Innovation News

Israeli Startup Transforms Jellyfish Into Paper Towels Trending Twitter Introduces Facebook-esque Profile Design TrendingIsrael's StoreDot Will Charge Your Phone in 30 Seconds Israel's StoreDot Will Charge Your Phone in 30 Seconds Trending
 

Rabbi Officiates Paltrow and Martin’s Uncoupling Ceremony in Bahamas

April 09, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Rabbi Officiates Paltrow and Martin’s Uncoupling Ceremony in Bahamas

The former couple ended their "break up moon" with a spiritual ceremony led by a Kabbalah rabbi.

Read More

Seth Rogen Describes Zac Efron's Hot Body in New 'SNL' Hosting Promo [VIDEO]

April 09, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Seth Rogen Describes Zac Efron's Hot Body in New 'SNL' Hosting Promo [VIDEO]

The 'Neighbors' star will be returning to 'Saturday Night Live' as host for the third time.

Read More

James Franco Stars in a Gucci Ad by James Franco [VIDEO]

April 09, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
James Franco Stars in a Gucci Ad by James Franco [VIDEO]

The multi-hyphenate stars and directs a new, sexy, and suave Gucci sunglasses commerical

Read More

Would You Have Sex With Paul Rudd For $1? [VIDEO]

April 09, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Would You Have Sex With Paul Rudd For $1? [VIDEO]

The 'Anchorman' star joins 'Billy on the Street' in NYC to see how many people would be interested in sleeping with him for a buck

Read More

'Orange is the New Black' Star Apologizes For Anti-Semitic Connection

April 09, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
'Orange is the New Black' Star Apologizes For Anti-Semitic Connection

Kate Mulgrew expresses shock and surprise at her voice narration work being used for 'The Principle'

Read More

Top 5 Passover 'Let It Go' Inspired Covers [VIDEO]

April 09, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Top 5 Passover 'Let It Go' Inspired Covers [VIDEO]

Jewish parenting site Kveller has compiled a list of the best 'Let It Go' inspired Passover videos

Read More

Argentina to Erect Holocaust Memorial in Buenos Aires

April 09, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Argentina to Erect Holocaust Memorial in Buenos Aires

The memorial will be a tribute to victims of the Holocaust

Read More

Israeli Robot Reacts 'Emotionally' to How You Talk [VIDEO]

April 09, 2014 | By Avner Meyrav
Israeli Robot Reacts 'Emotionally' to How You Talk [VIDEO]

Kip1, the robot with soul, becomes frightened when you are angry with it

Read More

More Headlines