Lights of Innovation

Meet the entrepreneurs who innovate in order to solve problems and bring hope for our economic recovery!

Small businesses, the backbone of our economy, have been crushed by our government’s policies. Repeated lockdowns, unclear and arbitrary regulations, and hefty fines have destroyed many businesses. It is certainly a tragedy for those who have already lost their livelihoods, but it is also a terrible loss to us as a nation. Small businesses and the self-employed are the motors of our economy and the entrepreneurs that have survived and even flourished during this crisis are our real economic heroes.

Small businesses that use innovation, quick thinking, and risk-taking to adapt during challenging times give our country some hope for the future. The Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) wants to celebrate those individuals and provide them with a platform to share their experiences.

The following are two stories that demonstrate that individual initiative and private enterprise are the keys to our future.

The White Van love story started in 2003. The van traveled throughout Israel to photograph happy occasions, providing an extra dose of fun to many events. The ban on holding any public events since March has forced the White Van to reinvent itself. "Today, the Van photographs less happy couples and our business model now centers on clips for video productions, a growing business in the post-COVID world."

"Giraffe Urban Experience" was launched in January 2020. "The start was amazing; our culinary tours in the markets of Tel Aviv were a great success, but then COVID hit, and we needed to reinvent Giraffe itself." Today instead of bringing travelers to the markets, they deliver the market to the consumers' door. Their wooden boxes, filled with local culinary delights straight from the market stalls, are attractive to many consumers and demand keeps growing. The Giraffe owners saved their business and helped hundreds of market sellers find new venues to sell their products. They also benefit the community by ordering their wooden boxes from an organization that employs at-risk youth.

Those examples, among many others, show that individual risk-taking and entrepreneurship are crucial for our future; they are our only hope for long-term recovery. A smart government that cares for its citizens should do everything in its power to unleash such innovation by making it easier for citizens to open and manage a business. Today Israel is ranked 35 in the "Ease of Doing Business Index", behind most developed countries. Instead of overloading businesses with cumbersome regulations, complicated tax codes, and bureaucratic hurdles, Israel should strive to become the world's most friendly country for entrepreneurship, a place which today is held by New Zealand and Singapore.

If the government were to demonstrate a sincere will to change this flawed system, the situation could dramatically change within a few years. Such reforms would encourage entrepreneurship and make it easier for companies like White Van and Giraffe to create jobs and economic prosperity.

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