Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Calculated Risks

Sara Glaz

Have a business idea but not sure what the next step is? Looking for a small business loan but getting rejected by all the local banks? Imagine being able to call up a nonprofit and getting the support necessary to create successful business — including the cash to make it thrive.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

After the economic downturn in 2008, community leaders and rabbis saw members losing their jobs one after the other, with few viable opportunities on the horizon. This was the backdrop for Emergency Parnassa Initiative (EPI) under the leadership of Zisha Novoseller. The New York City–based organization implemented an extensive job recruiting effort, instituted programs for men and women to improve their work skills, and set up a small business division that provides mentorship and no-interest loans. To date, EPI has placed 1,800 unemployed men and women in jobs in the New York–New Jersey area and funded more than 150 start-ups, which, in turn, employ an additional 1,000 people. The companies span a range of industries from high-tech and e-commerce to beauty aids and clothing sales and food production, in addition to the education and services sectors. The loans offered by EPI are interest-free and are paid back over three years. “When we first meet with an entrepreneur, we ask for the profit-and-loss projection for the first year,” says Mr. Novoseller. He explains that these numbers include anticipated revenue and expenses, which tell EPI if the business is expected to bring in a profit. More importantly, EPI uses those numbers to gauge the plan as a whole and to determine how knowledgeable the entrepreneur is about the details: the ins and outs of how the business will function, what type of clientele he expects, how he’ll market himself, how much he’s researched his competition, and what challenges he anticipates. “This is where we’re able to dig in, to really figure out how solid the business plan is, as well as what holes exist.” In the five years since its inception, EPI has seen all types of business plans and pitches: the good, the okay-but-needs-tweaking, and the not-so-good. Mishpacha approached three recipients of EPI’s loans to see what it takes to bring an idea to EPI — and ultimately to fruition.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you