The services Jasmine provides include: entrepreneurship and various training courses, networking events, businesswomen's forums, national conferences, access to credit, business consulting, a bilingual guide for businesswomen, advocacy and publicity on key issues facing businesswomen in Israel, and an online internet portal.
Strauss's commitment to Jasmine for the next three years involves:
- Assistance in building, promoting and managing an internet portal. The portal functions in Hebrew, English, and Arabic and presents Jasmine's vision, plans, and activities. It includes a notice board with professional news, articles and interviews, calendar of events and conferences, a survey system and career opportunities. It provides practical tools as well as information channels for managing a business. It also provides virtual professional consulting forums. Additionally, the portal will include a giant virtual 'shopping mall' featuring the products and services of its members, and will thus serve to showcase businesses externally to potential customers. In parallel, an interface will be built to enable outside investors and businesses to be exposed to the businesses of the members of Jasmine. This portal will be a new form of publicity for businesswomen as they build their own websites and create networking opportunities within the online community.
- On a broader scope, Strauss will continue during 2010 to assist in raising the profile of Jasmine, both nationally and via its members. Furthermore, Strauss will provide fundraising assistance for new women's businesses and for the acceleration of their activities. At a later stage, Struass will provide assistance in establishing a board of governors for Jasmine and a 5-year business plan on the basis of Jasmine's vision.
In Israel today there are 40,000 small and medium-sized registered businesses that are owned by women. Of these, 5,000 are owned by women from Israel's Arab sector. In order to gain a clearer picture of the key needs of businesswomen in Israel and to define Jasmine's goals, the Center of Jewish-Arab Economic Development (CJAED) commissioned a research of 400 women-owned businesses and 13 organizations that work for the economic empowerment of women. The main finding of this research was that the key need among businesswomen was for greater information, advocacy, networking opportunities and national representation, and access to credit and other forms of finance. Businesses that showed a tremendous amount of potential were unable to blossom due to a lack of information and lack of a support network. CJAED established Jasmine to help fill this void and bring together organizations that act on behalf of businesswomen in Israel into a strong coalition.
In 2006, Mrs. Ofra Strauss, Chairperson of the Board of Strauss Group, became the president of Jasmine. Mrs. Strauss together with the Strauss strategic management team identified the need to expand awareness of Jasmine's activities and services in order to empower female entrepreneurs in Israel and provide them with essential tools. As an Israeli based emerging international company in the Food and Beverage industry, The Strauss Group believes it has a duty and responsibility to reflect leadership in the social environment. Diversity and inclusion are two main areas that the company chose to promote as part of its CSR program. Hence, in recent years Strauss integrated more women into senior managerial positions, incorporated women of minority populations and provided them with a proper training for different positions. Mrs. Strauss believes that empowering women to be active members of economic life through business is advantageous for the economy and for society in general. Creating jobs and facilitating the entrance of women into the work force is not simply about promoting equality, but also an essential step in breaking the cycle of poverty that especially affects women in marginalized communities in Israel, such as Arab women.
By providing women with access to economic and educational opportunities through Jasmine, an important obstacle to poverty eradication can be overcome which will have positive economic and social implications on society as a whole.
SEEKING: Financial assistance, best practice information, media and marketing opportunities.
OFFERING: Models for entrepreneurship training for women.