Balsam Halifa, an ambitious 34-year-old from the Druze village of Maghar in the Galilee, recently marked his one year anniversary as an independent entrepreneur. Halifa contacted The Jewish Agency Loan Funds for assistance in acquiring his own coffee shop, a franchise of the Israeli coffee chain, Aroma Espresso Bar. Before long, Halifa was gladly granted substantial financial aid for his new branch.
As a proactive, aspiring entrepreneur, Halifa embarked on academic studies in the field of Management and Industry. However, during difficult financial times, he was forced to give up his studies and seek an income.
Halifa began to work in a popular Aroma self-service café, where he slowly started climbing up the ranks: first as the Shift Manager and then as Branch Manager and concessionaire of the Mitzpe Ramon branch in the Southern Negev of Israel. In light of Halifa's quick success and motivation, along with the recommendations of the chain's supervisor, he decided to open a Northern-Galilee branch.
"Joining Aroma Espresso Bar six year ago made me realize that I'm actually practicing what I intended to learn in the first place—and very much loving it. I realized how much I enjoy my job and that I aspired to be a manager and better yet—an independent businessman!" Halifa said.
Always pleased to offer conversation as a side-order to his coffee, he explains with the determination of a true businessman, "Having your own business makes you feel content." Halifa expanded: "After managing a branch in the South [of Israel], I saved up some money and decided to go all-in. I needed more money to open my own branch—to cover construction, guarantees, and other expenses." Overall, the venture was an investment worth more than NIS 2 million.
Halifa puts the success of his story down to the Loan Funds project that guided him toward realizing his dream. He adds: "I was surprised that everything went so quickly and smoothly after I applied for the loan. The Loan Funds in The Agency's Partnership2Gether unit supported me throughout, and made this whole thing possible. The staff support gave me a sense of strength and added confidence."
Halifa had an additional agenda: "The first branch I managed was in the desert of the Negev, and now I'm in the green of Galilee. It is important to develop the Israeli geographical peripheries which are immensely in need of growth."