A new business mapping initiative looks to gather input from Jerusalem residents and those who work in the city, and connect local supply with local demand
Jerusalem, April 25, 2017 – The Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Innovation Team (JLM i-team), together with Maof Jerusalem, the operating arm of the Small and Medium Business Agency at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, and the Digital Israel at the Ministry for Social Equality, announce the launch of Coming Soon, a citywide business mapping initiative, which uses crowdsourcing to determine which businesses are lacking in each neighborhood and business district, and connects local demand with local entrepreneurs looking for new opportunities. The app goes live tomorrow, April 26, and will be active for one month. Jerusalem residents and those who work in the city are invited to access the app at bekarov.jerusalem.muni.il and have their opinions heard.
Coming Soon asks Jerusalemites what it is they are missing in their neighborhoods and workplace environments and shares the data with entrepreneurs, who receive a package of referrals to municipal- and 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.
“In the past few years, we have placed special emphasis on large, diverse investments in neighborhoods throughout the city, as well as making Jerusalem attractive to the business sector,” says Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat. “The Coming Soon initiative integrates these two strategies through an innovative, creative and out-of-the-box model that is based in collective wisdom. Residents themselves will be able to influence what is happening in their neighborhoods. This will impact the city through enhanced quality of life for residents and advance the business sector – a win-win for all involved.”
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the central growth engine of the economy and we are here to give them the support they need in order to succeed,” says Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen. “Operating under the auspices of the Small and Medium Business Agency of the Ministry of Economy and Industry, Maof works to assist entrepreneurs and business owners at every stage. Connecting the needs of residents with local entrepreneurs is undeniably the right way to achieving a stable and successful business.”
“Residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods usually know what they are missing – whether it is a supermarket, a pet store, a hair salon or a locksmith – but local entrepreneurs do not have the market research available to those who spend time chatting with parents at the local playground or with seniors at their weekly bridge game,” says Sharone April, Director of the JLM i-team. “Coming Soon aims to make that connection so that new businesses open up exactly where they are needed, giving residents a voice and entrepreneurs a greater opportunity to succeed.”
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. The JLM i-team, together with its municipal and government partners, 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. Coming Soon works to support new businesses while taking into consideration the traditional centrality of neighborhood clusters in Jerusalem, a function of topography, history, politics and social/communal trends.
Coming Soon hopes to achieve its goal of getting as much input as possible from residents through the use of a fun, game-like interface. Users will have the opportunity to pinpoint specific businesses missing in their surroundings, receive suggestions based on their areas of interest, share results with friends and have a meaningful impact on the commercial development of their neighborhoods and workplace environment. At the end of the month, the data procured will be shared with entrepreneurs and with the public-at-large, with the hope that residents will not only want to share their opinions but also more consciously support their local businesses. Businesses that open as a direct result of the Coming Soon campaign will be celebrated in the coming year.
The Jerusalem Innovation Team
The JLM i-team, founded and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is a senior consulting team that reports directly to the Mayor of Jerusalem and works to tackle strategic targets and seemingly intractable problems in the chosen areas of youth-at-risk, creative public space, fostering business opportunities, education and building active communities. The i-team’s unique status as in-house yet independent, Jerusalem-focused but part of a strong international network, allows it to surmount bureaucratic hurdles and create bridges between departments and organizations. The i-team uses Bloomberg Philanthropies’ successful innovation framework for solving acute city challenges, which is based on a structured, data-driven approach, a focus on short processes with maximum impact, and innovation within existing bodies. The i-team is committed to initiating programs, hand-in-hand with municipal partners, that, once successful, will have the greatest impact on the residents and businesses of Jerusalem.
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