OPINION: Inspiring high-tech start-ups in London’s Charedi community

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OPINION: Inspiring high-tech start-ups in London’s Charedi community

An incubator has the power to create a brighter future for tech, the UK Charedi community and Israel, writes Motti Eichler, founder of Achim Global.

Achim Global
Achim Global

There’s a famous saying, attributed to different authors: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” 

Founding Achim Global together with Marc Schimmel, I am a firm believer in this. A non-profit organisation dedicated to increasing employment and entrepreneurship opportunities within Israeli-Charedi society, Achim Global is fuelled by the understanding that we can actively shape our own future for the better.

Technological development is perhaps the most impactful frontier of change today. From social media to ChatGPT, we have seen how new inventions can radically transform the modern world, at a dizzying speed. Recognising this, together with The Kemach Foundation, we launched Bizlabs, a programme to support Israeli-Charedi tech start-ups, creating a brighter future for tech, the Haredi community, and Israel as a whole.

Motti Eichler

One educational tech startup we are supporting, Shenanli, is pioneering an interactive reader, allowing blogs (such as this one) and books to be read aloud and presented to a listener, almost like a digital tutor. Another company we support is utilising AI to develop tech that alters texts for those with dyslexia. A whole litany of other businesses we are helping are involved in areas such as water purification, big data, and fintech. All these products have the power to change lives.

Our goal with the Bizlabs programme is to be the leading platform in Israel to advance and grow startups from within the Charedi community, with zero-equity taken. So far, we have helped close to 50 companies. One year on from each cycle of the programme, 89% of companies are still operating and often expanding abroad, hiring employees, and growing into larger, more established businesses.

Later this month, we are hosting a showcase event of these tech startups in Fitzrovia, London, connecting these Israeli start-ups with UK businesses. Whilst in the UK capital, we are proud to be able to collaborate with Calcalist for their high-tech event, to ensure tech companies from all sectors have the opportunity to take part.

Our inroads and programmes are of benefit not just to the Charedi community, but to Israel as a whole.

Yet Achim Global does more than just support these unique start-ups. From our business centre in the heart of Bnei Brak, we specifically cater to the needs and values of the Charedi community, offering tailored yet modern workspaces, cultural understanding, and nuanced advice. From 2015 until today, over 500 Charedi companies have graduated from our entrepreneurship training initiatives, run in both Bnei Brak and Jerusalem.

Our inroads and programmes are of benefit not just to the Charedi community, but to Israel as a whole. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, by the end of this decade, Charedim will form 16% of the entire Israeli population. This demographic projection has led, as is well-known, to politically loaded predications, often tense, polarising population groups within the country.

Generating economic stability within the Charedi community and national economy at large and creating understanding between Israel’s diverse groups of people, as Achim Global does, will combat this divisiveness.

The future is open for us to create, latent with potential. We can go beyond pontificating or predicting about the future and instead help to create it.

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