"Since Manage began the process in June 2007, our business has undergone an unbelievable transformation," says Jos Cohen.
Founded in 1997 in Tel Aviv by Jos (Yosef) Cohen and Na'or Shakedi, Manage, active in the field of customer relationship management (CRM), relocated to the North of Israel in 2002. "I enjoy giving," says Amnon Yacoby, Manage's mentor and Chairman of Aternity Inc.. Amnon volunteers his time and adds to the success by sharing experience, expertise, values, skills, perspectives, attitudes and proficiencies. "It is rewarding to see how the consultant’s and my guidance can go a long way. The combination of the consultant and mentor complete each other."
The Second Lebanon War in July 2006 highlighted and exacerbated longstanding difficulties facing the economic structure of Northern Israel, in particular small and medium businesses. IVN's Economic Reconstruction Initiative (IERI) complements, rather than duplicates, other efforts in the area and was established to stimulate business growth in Israel's periphery through a scalable model of consultancy, coaching/mentoring and lending for small businesses, combined with strengthening and empowering regional business consultants and MATI's (Small Business Development Centers). What is unusual about the IERI process is that it doesn't just give money or doesn't just provide mentorship. The combination of financing, consulting and mentoring is not only what makes IERI unique, but what allows for sustainable growth. IERI's first step was to determine which businesses met the necessary criteria. One of over 140 businesses identified as possessing untapped potential for growth was Manage. Active in the field of customer relationship management (CRM), they provide and manage all aspects of interaction a company has with its customers, including prospecting, sales, and service. Manage became part of IERI in June 2007.
Through MATI, Manage was matched with a business consultant. The business consultant meets with the businesses once every two weeks for approximately three hours. The consultant is active mainly on a strategic level in order to upgrade the business and economic infrastructure. MATI paired Jos and Na'or with Menachem Silberklang, an independent, regional business consultant with over 35 years experience in the business arena. Menachem received additional training by IERI, mainly in the areas of tactical financial skills, marketing and business development. The final factor in this equation is the mentor. IERI's mentorship program gives the businesses and the consultants the opportunity to learn from the experience gained by those running established, successful companies. The mentor volunteers his/her time. Whereas the consultant is effective on the strategic level, the mentor provides a more managerial overview. The mentor works with the consultant and occasionally meets with the business itself. Amnon Yacoby* was matched with two consultants, one of whom was Menachem Silberklang. Together they coach and mentor 5 businesses, one of them being Manage. Amnon acts similarly upon another 6 businesses with the second consultant.
Jos Cohen says "Thanks to Menachem and Amnon, we have redefined our entire business as well as our mind set. Our attitudes and outlook have been reshaped. This process has not only resulted in an almost immediate improvement in revenue, but it has also vastly improved the working relationship between Na'or and myself. This whole process been most welcome and I feel that we are definitely on our way to the Glory Road (Derech Hamemech)." When asked about the process, Menachem said, "Working with Amnon has been great. We have a relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation. As with children, no two businesses are the same. In the case of Manage, we were able to refocus both the product definition and management and were able to see a significant improvement only a short period of time into the process. Their revenue almost quadrupled. I have a great deal of faith in this process." Amnon enjoys the time he dedicates to IERI. " The combination of the consultant and mentor complete each other. Without either one, the process would not have the same impact. Of course the money is needed by the business, but the real added value is the escorting by the consultant and mentor, greatly improving the chances of success. I am in regular contact with Menachem and meet with him and Jos and Na'or occasionally. The time I give is quality time. " "The potential strengths available to the Galilee business community, thanks to the IERI project, are based on the personal involvement and voluntarism of IVN staff and members, with their outstanding experience, abilities, and business ties. IVN’s integrated approach, geared in part toward empowering present support systems such as the MATI Business Development Center, will ensure continuity and gradual improvement of these systems." - Nitsan Aviran, Director, MATI Beit Shean/Tiberias
IVN is in need of mentors, like Amnon, to help generate sustainable change in Israel. For more information about partnering with the IERI program, please contact Daphna Murvitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Amnon Yacoby, Chairman of Aternity Inc., is an entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Floware, which since its founding became a leading vendor in the Broadband Wireless Access market. After going public on the NASDAQ in 2000, it merged with BreezeCOM in 2001, to form the largest vendor in that space, now called Alvarion [NASDAQ: ALVR]. Before that Amnon founded and became CEO of RAD Network devices, Prior to this Amnon led a special technology unit in the Israeli intelligence forces.