Grantee Spotlight: Latet Atid
Latet is an organization that primarily deals with food insecurity among poor Israelis. For the last several years, it has run another program, Latet Atid ("to give a future") that helps women with incomes near the poverty line create or expand micro businesses. Latet is the only organization in Israel that gives business training to these burgeoning entrepreneurs while also giving them access to microloans, as part of an arrangement it has with Leumi Bank. In addition to a microloan, each entrepreneur works closely with a mentor.
Tanya Lavi, an immigrant to Israel from South Africa, turned to Latet Atid to start a baking business. She and her husband, a native Israeli, ran a food business until he was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy in 2005. Since then, she has juggled taking care of him, and their five children. Although she has worked outside of the home, her income was not enough to support the household. Lavi was passionate about baking, received a scholarship to go to baking school, and reached out to Latet Atid for help with her nascent enterprise. She attributes much of her success to her mentor, Uri Ganari.
"I had an idea of what I wanted to do but I didn't have enough money…I didn't even have the time or the energy to start exploring a change; I was sinking deeper and deeper. Baking was always a big hobby of mine. I would spend all day at a job I didn't enjoy and then spend all night baking cakes. Latet Atid helped me turn my hobby into a business. I had a place; I had the skills, but not enough money. With their loan, I was able to renovate the caravan in the back of my house and turn it into a little cake studio, buy the equipment I needed, and advertise the business. I was also assigned a mentor to help me get my business off the ground. He helped me gain much needed business knowledge. He especially helped me with the finances and knowing how much to charge for my cakes. I would charge too little, and he would tell me, don't be afraid to charge more for your specialty and work time. Now, with the tools I gained from Latet Atid, I make twice as much as I would have made in my old job. Also, because I live next to Gaza, they gave me a 5000 NIS [$1250] grant, which I now use towards my tuition to study advanced patisserie. Latet Atid really gave me the big push forward I needed to turn this hobby into a successful business.
Uri, my mentor is a fountain of information, knowledge and experience, amazingly considerate, supportive, patient.....(and I can be exasperating) , instinctively knowing when to pressure me and when to take a step back, adapting our pace to my not-so-conventional life situation (5 young children, disabled husband, post-bankruptcy) but at the same time teaching and making me aware of aspects of business that I previously never even thought about and showing me how NOT to be afraid to charge for and earn money for my time and skills. I'm definitely richer for having him a part of this process and for making my dream come true!"