The Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development (CJAED) is an innovative Israeli non-profit organization that seeks to create an inclusive and thriving Israeli society by bridging the social and economic disparities through entrepreneurship and education. CJAED works in the belief that both Jewish-Arab economic cooperation and the development of a flourishing and integrated Arab sector are essential for the establishment of peace, prosperity, and economic stability. Through its main divisions; The Business Unit, The Women’s Empowerment Unit, Joint Jewish-Arab Employment Zones, and Higher Education Leadership Programs, they have invested significant efforts towards closing the gaps between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel.
The Sulam Loan Fund, the main initiative within the Business Unit, was founded in 2004 in order to provide urgently required credit for small businesses under Arab or joint Jewish-Arab ownership. The fund is a joint partnership between CJAED, UJA-Federation of NY, Mercantile Discount Bank, Olivestone Trust, and large private donors. Within this partnership, CJAED guarantees 50% of the loan to facilitate access to credit for entrepreneurs who do not have sufficient collateral. It is the 1st loan fund to specialize in Israel’s Arab sector and has assisted in the disbursement of 279 loans totaling $6.4 million since 2004.
In 2009, 45% of the loans were for business creation and 55% for expansion. While the Women’s Empowerment Unit and Jasmine specifically promote the tools for female-owned businesses, the Sulam Fund has enabled 104 women to open or expand their businesses with approximately $2 million of credit.