Using the Power of Entrepreneurship for Social Change

PresenTense and Siftech program in Boston; photo via Facebook.

By Rachel Shaul

With the second-largest number of start-ups in the world after Silicon Valley, there is no doubt that Israel is well deserving of the moniker start-up nation. But our work can’t stop there. With so many different groups making up the country’s population, we need to make entrepreneurship accessible to all Israeli communities in order to improve the communities themselves and society on the whole.

Leveraging the country’s high-tech entrepreneurial success and desire “to do good,” PresenTense, a not for profit organization, enables the empowerment of communities across Israel to make a difference. PresenTense was born out of an idea that we can leverage our community and values to contribute to a better world, and started that work in Israel. Through a series of accelerators, innovative programs/initiatives, and services, PresenTense is channeling entrepreneurship to improve society.

For 10 years PresenTense has played a pioneering role in the StartUp Nation.

We launched the first co-working hub in Israel, the first social venture accelerator in Israel, the first accelerator for Arab tech entrepreneurs in Israel, the first accelerator for Haredi women in Israel and the first accelerator in the world for assistive technologies.

Our impact has included the launch of over 500 businesses, tech start-ups and social ventures, which are developing local economies through job growth, enriching community life through volunteer engagement and solving core society.

Last month, I, along with three alumni of PresenTense accelerators, had the opportunity to present our message of social responsibility and coexistence to the greater Boston area, which was the first site of PresenTense outside of Israel, thanks to the generous support of CJP. The event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Consulate General of Israel to New England. The uniquely different backgrounds of these distinguished alumni, just three of dozens of PresenTense graduates who are making their impact on Israel, underscore what our mission is all about. Dr. Shady Hassan is a Druze Arab whose start-up, Healthymize, has developed an app that uses voice-monitoring technology to assist people with chronic voiceaffecting diseases. Tomer Shor founded the start-up TuneFork, which develops software that tailors a precise audio filter for users with hearing loss. Michael Nachtiler is an ultra-Orthodox Jew whose nonprofit organization, Aguda Achat, promotes initiatives to help his community adapt to modern Israeli society while maintaining ultra-Orthodox values.

Our team at PresenTense and the alumni from our myriad programs are doing what we can to capitalize on Israel’s startup culture in order to bring together diverse sectors of Israeli society. We’ve shown that we’re stronger when we work together, and I’m pleased we had the opportunity to spread our message and our mission across the greater Boston area.

PresenTense Israel makes entrepreneurship accessible in geographic and social peripheries around the country as a means for empowering individuals, building stronger local economies, enriching community life, and solving core challenges facing society. We believe that community builds entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurs build community.

Rachel Shaul is CEO of PresenTense.