Over 110 businesses have been initially screened by IVN's Economic Reconstruction Initiative (IERI) and of those, 37 businesses have begun to receive formal coaching. One year after the Second Lebanon War, businesses are still in great need of assistance – both financial and strategic. Below is a profile of one such business.
Industry: Real-time software program outsourcing
Background: Conkor was founded in 1998 by a husband and wife team – Marina and Iliya Koritny – both immigrants from the FSU who are software engineers by training. Iliya is considered a leading expert in real-time software (used in applications such as embedded systems (programmable thermostats, household appliance controllers, mobile telephones), industrial robots, spacecraft, industrial control, and scientific research equipment). The company began with 4 employees and quickly grew to a staff of 25 by the year 2000. Before the Second Lebanon War began, there were nearly 40 employees.
Impact of the War: Conkor's offices are at Kibbutz Sa'ar, which is located along the border with Lebanon. From the moment the war began, there was no possibility of the business remaining open due to constant shelling and immediate danger. They tried to continue providing their services remotely, but it was very difficult as employees scattered around the country seeking shelter. Beyond the damage sustained during the war, they continued to lose customers, who lost faith in the stability of a company situated in the North. In addition, a significant number of their employees have decided to relocate. Conkor currently has 15-20 employees.
Trying to Rebuild: Conkor has tremendous potential, both in its current area of outsourcing, as well as a developer of spin-off products. After the war, Conkor turned to the local MATI (Small Business Center) for assistance and they were referred to IVN's Economic Reconstruction Initiative (IERI). IERI performed an initial review of the business and determined that there is significant potential for growth and that Conkor is primarily in need of organizational management and strategic marketing.
Eli Teicher, the local business consultant working with Conkor via IERI believes that, "The support and networking offered by IVN through IERI is fantastic, as the Conkor managers can learn from people who actually know the market and know how to succeed. There is amazing potential here."
Moving Ahead: The next stage is for Conkor to work with Eli to build a business and marketing plan with clear objectives.
We look forward to sharing the progress of Conkor and other IERI-supported businesses as they move from initial recovery to long-term planning and development.