One of the core missions of the JLM i-team is tackling the challenge of Jerusalem’s economic development – a mission identified by Mayor Nir Barkat. Recent statistics show that approximately 50% of new businesses in the city close within five years of opening - a sobering survival rate - and that Jerusalem’s position on the country’s business-friendly index is number 38. The JLM i-team has been working on a series of initiatives to strengthen entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses in the city, in order to contribute in a meaningful way to help Jerusalem thrive
A citywide business mapping initiative, which uses crowdsourcing to determine which businesses are lacking in each neighborhood and business area, and connects local demand with local entrepreneurs looking for new opportunities. Coming Soon asks Jerusalemites what it is they are missing in their neighborhoods and workplaces and shares the data with entrepreneurs, who receive a package of referrals to government-subsidized training and incentives to help the new businesses become sustainable and successful. The purpose of the initiative is threefold: to use digital crowdsourcing as a way to procure insights for business development in the city, to help entrepreneurs start businesses based on genuine market demand and with tools and training to help them flourish, and to promote a sense of community and impactful civic participation among residents.
Employment through the Eyes of Employers
The i-team examined the city’s skilled labor shortage and, after assessing available services and information for jobseekers, chose to focus on the needs of local employers, for whom less resources are available to help them fill their recruitment needs. The i-team therefore proposed the creation of a new position in the municipality to assist employers and support their interests. The municipal employer relations manager, who began in June 2016, was given the mandate of examining the gaps between supply and demand on a local level and working to solve them through targeted programming and new initiatives.
This initiative looks to strengthen local economy in Jerusalem starting with its big spenders - hospitals, universities, government and municipal institutions, and international organizations. Large percentages of the budgets of these anchor institutions are spent outside of Jerusalem – to pay for services rendered by non-local companies who have secured local tenders. The local economy initiative will work to reduce these percentages and therefore contribute in a meaningful way to the success of small and medium-sized businesses in the city. By mapping the Jerusalem-based businesses providing a variety of necessary services and products, and creating a streamlined process for accessing sales quotes for institutions who issue tenders relevant in size to those businesses, the i-team and its partners hope to create a virtual commercial arena that effectively connects local supply and demand.