Four Innovation Organizations Merge

November 29, 2016 | Oregon Jewish Voice

Bikkurim, Joshua Venture Group and UpStart are consolidating into a single organization – UpStart – to serve as the central resource for Jewish innovation. The newly envisioned UpStart will also include the current U.S.-based programs of PresenTense.

The four organizations currently provide the Jewish community’s leading support services for innovators and organizations looking to tackle today’s Jewish challenges with new ways of thinking, and to create meaningful access points to Jewish life. Through this consolidation, UpStart will leverage the best of each organization to house all innovation resources under one roof – delivering a comprehensive, streamlined suite of high-quality services to entrepreneurs, “intrapreneurs” and communities pursuing Jewish innovation.

In 2012, JVG selected two Portlanders – Steve Eisenbach-Budner (Tivnu: Building Justice) and Sarah Blattner (Tamritz: Digital Badging) – for its 2012-2014 Dual Investment Program, which awarded eight fellowships to social entrepreneurs who have the potential to “transform the Jewish landscape.”
“Jewish life has evolved in incredibly positive ways due in part to the success of our organizations, our program alumni and our visionary partners,” says Aaron Katler, CEO of the current and future UpStart.

“We come together now out of a shared commitment to build on that success and to expand our capacity to serve an evolving field.”

During the transition, each organization will operate its own programs and support its current cohorts. The future UpStart board will be comprised of representatives from each organization. PresenTense’s global operations will continue separately under the PresenTense name.

Our purpose is to enable entrepreneurs to bring bold Jewish ideas to light. We help them reach Up to people in new ways that are meaningful, more inclusive, and create a brighter future for our Jewish community and the world we share.

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