Israeli startup Buy for Good has come up with a new way to help support Israel and to connect its supporters around the world to nonprofit organizations in Israel.
The company, founded by 39-year old CEO Yuval Arbel, has launched an online store that only sells products produced in vocational training centers that offer rehabilitation and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and from underprivileged communities.
The website hosts a variety of gifts created by the disabled and underprivileged members of these vocational centers. Soaps, tea, dolls, home decoration, Judaica items are all sold via the website and shipped locally and overseas.
More products will be added soon, said Arbel, who set up the company because he wanted to do “work with a meaning.”
The vocational centers help people with disabilities develop skills and provide them with opportunities to improve their financial well-being and career development, he added.
Nonprofit organizations in Israel have been operating these centers for years but so far the vast majority of their products have been sold to the local market, mainly to companies and organizations before the Jewish High Holidays and Passover. Just a small portion of the products are sold directly to consumers. This limits the potential market for the nonprofits and leaves them with a narrow customer base, Arbel said.
“We want to make these products available to all people, also outside of Israel, for the benefit of these non-profit organizations. If we sell more products they will be able to employ more people who need meaningful employment,” he said.
“It is going well and we have already shipped products to the US, Australia and Canada,” he said.
The initiative is part of the accelerator for social entrepreneurs A3i, which was set up by Beit Issie Shapira and PresenTense among others. Currently, the website is running its “Beta” version and works with 10 nonprofit organizations.