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Jewish Business Network

The Jewish Business Network’s (JBN) vision is to create global Jewish business leaders by educating, engaging, and connecting aspiring Jewish business students on university campuses to the Jewish community. We strive to create Jewish leaders who are successful in business, care about their Jewish identity, and want to change the world for the better. The JBN has been successful in engaging previously uninspired students, who are now active leaders in their communities. This has been achieved through exciting networking events, inspiring and relevant Jewish education, and an innovative internship program. After successfully testing the concept in the 2009/2010 academic year at the Schulich School of Business at York University, students from various universities sought to be involved in the JBN by creating their own campus groups. In its second year of operations, the JBN was able to successfully replicate its concept through aggressive expansion of operations to over 8 campuses in Canada, including all major Toronto campuses. Several hundred Jewish business students were engaged in the dozens of successful events, and over 55 students were inspired to take leadership roles. The internship program was also successfully implemented in this past year. The expansion of JBN had to halt its due to its limited financial resources. However, fund-raising is its priority to ensure resumed expansion. The JBN is developing a new innovative website (www.thejbn.ca). Its focus is to enhance the strategic ability to meet the demand for the creation of more campus chapters both nationally and internationally.

Need: 

Our target audience is highly motivated Jewish business students from the top business programs in the country who are not engaged or involved in the Jewish community. Most Jewish business students on campus are not Jewishly affiliated because the community has failed to provide programming specifically tailored to their needs. The JBN focuses on this neglected and important niche demographic by providing them with programming and resources that will enhance their careers while, at the same time, ensuring that they are inspired to be more involved in the Jewish community. Through our educational focus, we give them reasons for being leaders in the arenas of Jewish, social, or Israel activism, both on and off campus. Students already involved in the Jewish community will be encouraged to take leadership roles within the JBN and become mentors to those who are newly involved.

Aspiring business people from the top business schools in the country are geared for success in the corporate world. Our activities can act as the last front in engaging them in order to ensure their continuous involvement in Jewish life. These are the future donors of the Jewish community and our activities can ensure our communities’ strong network of donors in the long term. Currently, the JBN does not have sufficient resources to meet demand from student leaders on over eight campuses to continue operating a JBN. A strategic investment from JVPF will help the JBN continue its growth and support student leaders who want to make a difference.

Goals, Objectives & Measurement: 

The goal of the JBN is to inspire greater involvement and leadership among uninvolved Jewish business students on campus. The campus groups that the JBN plans to operate with in the coming year have large Jewish populations. The success of JBN will lead to a strengthened Jewish community in Toronto, as we encourage involvement in Jewish life to students whom would otherwise not be interested.

Involvement
This is determined by the amount of JBN members (defined as someone who pays a membership fee and come to at least 75% of the events held on their campus).
Goal: 120 members for 2011/2012 and 200 members for 2012/2013 (approximately 20 members/campus). This is recorded on the website. All students who paid for memberships and their attendance at events are accounted for. From these statistics, we will be able to determine our membership base.
● Note that several hundred students come to JBN events and are engaged by our programs but our focus is on ensuring high involvement and impact from each member. We focus on our qualitative impact per person as opposed to how many people come to events. Our goal of 120 members, refer to those who are highly engaged. For each 120 members, we expect to have 2-3x more people attending JBN events.

Leadership
This is determined by the amount of members who take leadership roles within the JBN.
Goal: To have 30 committed leaders in 2011/2012 (the decrease from 55 to 30 is due to a lack of funding). The JBN has interest from dozens of students to be involved in the JBN and is only limited by funding. With the requested amount, the JBN can grow and support well over 60 student leaders on over 10 campuses in 2012/2013.
This is measured by the amount of students who submit applications, are interviewed, and are accepted by the JBN.

Growth
The JBN wishes to continue growing on a per campus basis and by developing operations on more campuses. In addition to organizational growth, the JBN encourages its members to grow in their Jewish involvement and leadership.
Goals:
1. Increase campuses in operation from 6-10 y/y.
2. At least 50% of students who become members to be inspired towards greater leadership and involvement in the Jewish community as a result of the JBN.
3. Increase per campus membership by 25% y/y from 2011/2012 to 2012/2013.
Measured by:
1. Determined by how many campuses have JBN sponsored events.
2. Website will have a metric function that will track all members’ activities in the JBN and determine if they are learning more or attending more events as they progress through the organization. Also determined by how many members take leadership roles. We also plan on having surveys taken by new JBN members and repeating the surveys at the end of the year to determine our impact.
3. Measured by membership figures on a per campus basis.

Opportunity for Involvement: 

The members of the JVPF are a perfect fit for involvement in the JBN. Our organization needs business people who are committed to helping build a stronger Jewish tomorrow in the following areas:

Mentorship
We are developing a mentorship program and would need successful Jewish business people to mentor JBN members and leaders. This will help Jewish business people impart Jewish values to our members and inspire them towards greater Jewish involvement as well as providing the JBN with a marketing tool to recruit new members.

Internships
Whether the members are business owners or have connections with business people, we need help developing internship partners to ensure that we may continue using our internship program as a marketing tool.

Speaking
The JBN needs a solid pool of business speakers for our events across all our campus chapters. The members of the fund may become speakers for our various events.

Consulting
We need assistance developing our organizational structure, accounting practices, and overall strategy.

Website
We will require further consultation and help developing the website and make constant improvements once completed.

Marketing
Even though we have a solid marketing strategy, the expertise and support of the fund members will help us add significant value to whatever strategy we already developed.

Community relations
We need further assistance developing networks within the Jewish community to provide financial resources, speakers, internships as well as general mutually beneficial partnerships with other organizations in the community.

Time Frame: 

We expect the funding to be dispersed over 2 calendar years. If JVPF disburses its 1st grant in January 2012, then the JVPF should be able to discontinue its support of the JBN by January 2014. This timeframe will give the JBN the necessary time to develop its organizational structure, hire the necessary staff, and develop a stronger and more consistent donor base to replace the funding of the JVPF.

Website: completed within 2 months of receiving required funding.

Programming: September 2011 – April 2012, the JBN will organize 20 – 40 events with accordance to the amount of funding received.

Expansion: In September 2011, the JBN will launch programming on 6 campuses with the necessary funding, and will develop expansion plans and find leaders to develop the JBN on other campuses. By September 2012, the JBN will launch programming on 10-12 campuses (estimated numbers may increase or decrease depending on how much funding the JBN accrues by September of each calendar year).

Staff: After receiving the required funding the JBN will spend 2 months hiring necessary staff.

Please note that the JBN is already operational but lacks the resources to support all the campuses where JBN teams have been created. The funding received will be invested into these teams for programming, marketing and other functions such as leadership development.

Sponsor/Staff: 

Our sponsoring organization is Aish Campus Toronto, who has provided us with structural and some financial support to date. One of their staff, Rabbi Erez Farkas, has been supporting and assisting the management of the organization. It should be noted that the JBN is an independently run student organization and we seek help from any and all organizations that are willing to help us. As a result, we have worked with organizations such as Chabad, Hillel, and UJA, and plan to continue doing so.

Organizational Structure and Expertise: 

The JBN is managed by a board of advisors (BOA) that is composed of alumni, donors, staff and the national director, who is a student. The BOA is responsible for directing the JBN in its overall strategy, vision, fund-raising and overseeing the national team. The national team is composed of students who ensure their campus chapter has all the resources they need for organizing national events and strategies. There are many notable names on the BOA who are business professionals, professionals in the Jewish community and former students who have experience in managing the JBN, including its co-founders. With the requested funding, we plan on hiring at least one professional staff that will provide the backbone for all student leaders within the organization and help the JBN national team implement its strategies.

Criteria that Enhance Competitiveness: 

Sustainability
The JBN has been operating for two years, managing significant growth and interest. We have developed a strategy for managing this large student based organization with the creation of a “National Team” that monitors all campus activities and provides operational and financial support to all the campus groups. Even with the high turnover of leadership expected from a volunteer-based campus organization, the JBN has been able to grow. With the hiring of professional staff and financial support, the JBN can maintain a large base of student leaders and expansive operations.

Scalability
The JBN has been able to successfully expand its operations on multiple campuses that are both culturally and geographically diverse. Our unique strategy and value added propositions have created demand for the JBN on various campuses. Interest has followed our internship program, quality events, and trips to New York. We manage our growth through a central authority that ensures the JBN standard is met across all campuses and, as a result, we have organized over 28 successful events in our second year across eight campuses that are similar regardless of location, while promoting the JBN’s values. Creating an additional campus group does not strain resources significantly and all our infrastructure, speakers, website, trips, national programs and resources could be leveraged on any new campus and across all our operations.

Replicability
A part of the JBN’s strategy is to ensure that the values of the organization are being taught to its leaders. The JBN is able to expand and ensure that its concept and standards are being met by guaranteeing that our national team creates programs specifically catered towards the leaders within the organization. Executive leadership training sessions are held bi-weekly for JBN Executives in Toronto campuses and monthly for campuses outside of Toronto. In addition to regular Executive training sessions for campus leaders, Shabbatons are organized at least once per semester for JBN leaders and provide an opportunity for all JBN leaders to get together to learn, immersive themselves in a Jewish experience and strategize for the continued success of the organization.

In addition to the above, we have developed a thorough “Operations Manual” that every JBN Executive must read and review once becoming involved. The manual details the various aspects of the organization including: the standards, how to organize successful events, marketing strategies, budgeting information and educational curriculum. All the information in the manual will be amalgamated into the new website that will include a “Campus Management System” which allows campus Executives to create and promote events online (speaker management system included) and provide an efficient system for mentorships and communication with JBN members on their campus.

Internship Program
In business schools, paid internships are highly valued because it gives students real work experience and are therefore attained through an intensely competitive process. Because of the competition, the JBN will be able to attract many members if it can promise them the possibility of attaining a secured internship with a reputable firm. Our internship program is our main value proposition to prospective members. There is a strict set of criteria to qualify, which encourages members to attend most events on their campus and become Jewish leaders. Those who choose to be a part of the program must attend over 75% of events on their campus and submit a project that brings Jewish values into the business world by creating an innovative JBN event or idea/project to enhance the JBN’s activities. Last year, we had a few internship partners who gave the JBN members the potential to receive high paying summer internships and we received over 25 projects from JBN members. Our future goal is to establish internship partners in Israel so that we can connect young Jews to Israel.

Event strategy
Our events are a main pillar of our strategy in attracting students and inspiring them towards greater Jewish involvement. Every event has three components: networking, business education, and Jewish values. After organizing dozens of events, we developed a unique way to combine all three components in an effective and meaningful way in a very elegant suit and tie event which is easy to implement, scale, and replicate.

Website
An integral strategy in achieving the JBN’s goals is the creation of an innovative website. The various features will help the JBN achieve its goals of inspiring Jewish business students to learn about their heritage and become leaders who want to make a positive impact in the world. The website features various social networking functions, a mentoring program, an online internship management system, a campus management system and a creative Jewish learning center. Details regarding the various functions and login info can be sent upon request. The basic layout, structure and concept are complete; however the site needs further development (www.thejbn.ca).

Mentorship Program
A requirement of every JBN Executive is to mentor at least one member of the JBN in order to develop a stronger connection to the JBN and the values it represents. In addition to students mentoring students, the JBN is developing a mentorship program that connects successful Jewish business people to those who are aspiring for success in business. This will be one of our main value propositions to prospective members.

JBN High School and Young Professionals
The JBN is also developing programs and offshoot organizations for High School students and Young Professionals. Both projects are currently under development. We want the JBN to recruit students before they arrive on campus and keep a connection with them through alumni programming when they leave campus. Our vision is to have the JBN as part of their lives from ages 16-26.

Financial Leverage
Funding from JVPF would give the JBN further credibility when approaching private donors and other Jewish organizations for funds.