Tribe 12 Fellowship, a Jewish-focused startup accelerator in Center City, kicked off its third five month-long class earlier this month. Startups include Jewper, a Jewish take on the group dating site Grouper, Learn2Earn, an education funding platform and Schmear It, a food truck with a social entrepreneurship bent.
The accelerator, founded by Ross Berkowitz in 2010, is part of a global social entrepreneurship network started in Israel called PresenTense. Berkowitz is also launching a Jewish-focused coworking space called Tribe Commons, as we previously reported.
Tribe 12’s mission is to support the Jewish community by training its young entrepreneurs. Its fellows don’t have to be Jewish but their startups must have a Jewish focus, according to the accelerator’s FAQ page. The program is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and free to its participants.
Tribe 12 does not invest in its startups, the way that an accelerator like DreamIt Ventures does, but said that it could help with obtaining grant funding for its fellows. Read more about Tribe 12 Fellowship on Generocity.
The accelerator’s Jewish focus came under some fire on the Philly Startup Leaders listserv a few months ago (some called it exclusionary), but founder Berkowitz stood by his organization’s mission.
“The reality is that these [niche] groups exist,” he told us last month. “You can’t ignore it.”
Below, find out about the 12 startups in the program, as described by the fellows themselves.
- Azar Occupational (Jaime Bassman) – AZAR seeks to support families, educators and institutions within the Jewish community in creating individualized adaptations to tasks and environments, so that children withspecial needs are able to successfully participate in Jewish life and learning.
- Marriage Minded Mentor (Aleeza Ben Shalom) – Marriage Minded Mentor helps singles get real and get married. The end result is that a client gets over their dating hurdles and under the chuppah.
- Spectrum Philly (Makella Craelius) – Bridging out from its current model – an organization that hosts social and cultural events for queer Jews in their 20s and 30s – to an organization which serves as a bridge between queer young professionals and the greater Jewish community.
- PhillyLikesFitness (Emily Donati) – Provide Philadelphia residents with a fitness map of the city, including ways to maximize the public spaces the city had to offer and how to turn them into places to exercise.
- Schmear It (David Fine) – Schmear It will be a unique food truck with a social conscience. The food concept involves bringing NYC bagels to Philadelphia and schmearing them with made-to-order spreads; the social aspect centers on donating a percentage of profits to local nonprofits.
- Vine Dining (Sara Glassman) – A healthy, plant-based, kosher personal chef and cooking class business.
- Jewper (Ilana Gromis, Lora Rosenblum) – Jewper aims at bringing post-college, pre-family Jewish individuals together in ready-arranged, casual meet ups to facilitate new friendships, relationships, and exploration of one’s home city in the context of Judaism.
- AEPi Philadelphia Alumni Club (Shaw Levin) – The organization is reaching out to alumni in Philly to help reconnect them to each other and utilize their skills for the benefit of the Jewish community and networking.
- Learn2Earn (Raphael Menko, Hayley Brooks) – Online gaming platform that helps Jewish day school families raise money for their own tuition through fun educational activities that their kids can do online
- Closet Redemption (Deena Roemer) – Teaching women how to “shop into their own closet” – suite of services includes personal shopping, clothing restoration, image consulting, packing services
- Joy Stember Metal Arts Studio (Joy Stember) – Judaica metal artist who creates pewter Judaica and objects for the home for a new generation of Jewish collectors.
- Agents of Change (Molly Wernick) – A community leadership initiative that teaches Jewish young professionals and grad students how to maximize their impact and make a positive change in their community.
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