It seems like everyone and their mother is talking about Jewish Innovation these days. Even the old fogey establishment is starting to focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, keeping that slacker Next Gen engaged and interested in this â€œbeing Jewishâ€ thing.
But PresenTense was one of the first organizations to get into Jewish social entrepreneurship. They kicked off their first Fellowship for social entrepreneurs back in 2007, and in 2012 theyâ€™re running 10 Local Fellowships in 3 countries (plus their Global Summer Institute).
Now, anyone with an idea or project thatâ€™s good for the Jews can apply for a fellowship in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, DC, Jerusalem, Moscow, NYC, Philly, Tel Aviv, or Nachlaot (yes, there are two programs in Jerusalem – Nachlaot focuses on educators).
You may be asking, What is this Fellowship you speak of?
PresenTense Fellowships each gather together a group of 10-12 people with new ideas or projects that have some kind of Jewish communal focus (like Jewish Ed, community building, social action, the arts, green, tech). Over a five month period, they teach fellows all the nitty-gritty details of starting a new venture or growing one – building a marketing plan, social media, raising money, recruiting volunteers – stuff youâ€™d learn at a fancy MBA program, but without the $100k+ price tag. Theyâ€™re big on networking, matching participants up with mentors and coaches, and bring in experts in different fields to teach to fellows. And at the end of it all, each fellowship hosts a launch night – a science fair/networking party for all the fellows to pitch their projects to the locals.
You donâ€™t even have to quit your day job or drop out of grad school to do it – meetings are approximately 1-2 times a month, in evenings and weekends. And with 10 programs this year in 9 cities, thereâ€™s probably one near most of you.
So if youâ€™ve got this cool side project youâ€™re working on for your local Jewish community, or maybe just an idea youâ€™ve been obsessing over forever but havenâ€™t actually done anything about it, yalla – go forth and apply.