The purpose of this Commitment to Action is to create a business entity, called the ProsperUs Fund, co-owned and co-managed by Palestinians and Israelis, that invests in, promotes, and otherwise supports the growth of businesses that align with a particular set of standards, to which the entity itself is also beholden. This is strictly a non-political and apolitical effort and will be curated vigilantly by the Fund's Founders.
These standards include, but are not as of yet limited to, the following: ownership is distributed between one (or more) Palestinian stakeholders and one (or more) Israeli stakeholders; ownership, management, operations, marketing, and all decision-making is decidedly and avowedly non-political in nature and intent; and there is an economic benefit, whether direct or indirect, to both Israelis and Palestinians.
In an effort to support these particular businesses, the entity will provide one or all of the following: venture or growth capital; advisory and consultancy services; and platforms - whether physical, online, or otherwise - to support cross-border business operations.
In terms of process, ProsperUs will first identify and recruit like-minded individuals with whom to partner. Once set, this team of four -composed of two entrepreneurs on each side, one of the younger generation, one of the elder - will develop the initial legal framework of operations, and begin raising funds and identifying businesses in which to invest and grow, beginning with a pilot business to demonstrate the potential success of the model.
Marketing and building awareness about this among the Palestinian and Israeli business communities is expected to spur entrepreneurial activity that aligns with the stated requirements, and thus further the stated mission of growing entrepreneurial activity and business relationships across borders.
Phase one is to identify and recruit implementing partners, and to put together the official and legal framework of the entity, both of which are expected to be finalized by the end of 2012. This will include a small (2-4) group of Founders, and a broader group of Ambassadors who are global business leaders and influencers. During this initial phase, ProsperUs will also focus on identifying a single 'pilot' business which will be used to demonstrate the potential success of the model. With the legal framework in place and the pilot business identified, the entity will spend the first half of 2013 getting the pilot business funded, operational, and profitable.
Also in 2013, the entity will begin recruiting partners and co-funders with an eye towards Phase Two, which will be the expansion of investments through a large-scale public competition, the announcement of which is slated to occur in September 2013. By the spring of 2014, a narrowed pool of businesses will be identified for potential investment. Further background vetting will occur over summer, and final selections will be made by late summer. The announcement of the six winners, and the first round of investments, is slated to occur in September 2014.
Significant monitoring and evaluation will take place, with a dual purpose: first, to ensure the profitability of the businesses; second, to ensure the businesses are abiding by the stated guidelines, in order to maintain the integrity of the overall mission and to limit exposure of the entity to brand and cause dilution.
Finally, throughout the third year of the commitment, support will be offered to advance the initial businesses. Meanwhile, a second round of businesses will be identified, with vetting to take place over the summer, and funding finalized by September 2015, when the commitment will be considered complete.
Israel and Palestine, geographically neighbors, are economically divided. While 'business as usual' perpetuates the slow, internal development of each, a partnership across such close borders would accelerate economic growth for both, allowing entrepreneurs on each side to leverage the unique business opportunities of the other.
However, the established business communities await a resolution to the ongoing political conflict before pursuing active economic partnerships. But a growing, eager, and motivated youth movement is arising on both sides of the border - young entrepreneurs who prefer to make money, not war. With Palestine as a gateway to The East, and Israel as a gateway to The West, these entrepreneurs who meet in the middle will be sitting at the nexus of the economic universe.
This effort will foster, support, and grow the number of these particular entrepreneurs, thus developing strong business relations that will ultimately lift the overall economy of both Israel and Palestine. And further, this ground-level business approach is expected to ultimately contribute to a foundation on which top-level political reconciliation can be built.
This commitment seeks implementing partners who believe in potential success of the stated mission, are comfortable adhering to the basic requirements as stated, have a strong entrepreneurial background, and are familiar with the particularities of the region.
This commitment is offering implementing partners who believe in potential success of the stated mission, are comfortable adhering to the basic requirements as stated, have a strong entrepreneurial background, and are familiar with the particularities of the region.