Who We Are

Keren Shemesh, founded in 2005, is a not-for-profit organization that mentors  entrepreneurs from Israel’s social and geographic periphery.

Keren Shemesh focuses on each and every entrepreneur – We provide a holistic approach to developing his or her business and making it profitable that best utilizes his or her unique personal, cultural and environmental strengths.

Keren Shemesh brings advanced managerial tools and insider business know-how to small business owners, which boost their confidence and bestow them with a sense of capability.

Keren Shemesh is building a long-lasting socially active entrepreneur community thanks to volunteer mentors and a strong sense of “paying it forward” among our participants.

Keren Shemesh is the sole Israeli franchisee of Youth Business International, an international organization created by Prince Charles that promotes the organization’s business methods around the world.

Keren Shemesh is part of the Ogen Group, which provides credit and financial empowerment to economically disenfranchised Israelis and supported by the Edmond J Safra Foundation.



Maimonides defined eight levels of charity:

“The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand so that he will not need to be dependent upon others.  As it is said (Leviticus 25:35) ‘Then thou shalt uphold him: as a stranger and a settler shall he live with thee’, that is to say, strengthen his hand until he does not falter or need to be dependent upon others.

Mishne Torah, Laws of Charity 10:7

The best way to help the poor is to empower them to develop their abilities so they no longer need to rely on charity.  Keren Shemesh provides them with the tools for success, while Ogen provides them with life changing loans.


Our Target Audience

Young Israelis entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business that will provide employment for them and others and meets at least one of the following criteria:

  1. It employs populations often marginalized by traditional employment: The Ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, people with disabilities, single parents, newly discharged soldiers, new immigrants or Ethiopian-Israelis.
  2. It is located in Israel’s social or geographic periphery.
  3. The entrepreneur lacks financial backing.


What We Do

  1. Accept and filter through applications by means of personal interviews. We accept about 350 entrepreneurs each year.
  2. Train high power Israeli executives to volunteer as personal mentors for our entrepreneurs – over 600 mentors currently volunteer with us.
  3. Match each young entrepreneur with a mentor and supervise their relationship. Each mentorship pairing lasts two years and includes monthly four-hour meetings.
  4. Hold courses, lectures, seminars and personal consultations (including business plans and funding) that help entrepreneurs advance their businesses.

Partners & Supporters

Keren-Shemesh receives most of its funding from one of the organization’s founders, the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, and is the only organization in Israel to work with the support and network of YBI. A worlwide network of independent nonprofit organizations, YBI similarly works to carry young people around the world through the launch of new businesses and the creation of jobs.

Keren Shemesh is part of the Ogen Group, which provides credit and financial empowerment to economically disenfranchised Israelis