Tech giant Google has granted Israeli nonprofit lender The Ogen Group a million dollar “impact loan” to boost the group’s low-interest lending to small businesses, Ogen said on Wednesday. .
Small businesses generate more than 35% of Israel’s gross national product and have lost 44% of their revenue on average during the country’s three COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns to date.
Google is the first international corporate investor to support Ogen’s efforts, according to the organization.
“Google’s investment in Ogen shows how businesses, nonprofits and government actors can come together in 2021 to fund social enterprises and develop real impact on the economy in Israel,” said Sagi Balasha , CEO of Ogen.
Balasha added that he was “grateful to Google for this mark of trust” in the company.
In addition, Google is donating an additional $ 500,000 to support the growth of its ShoppingIL Academy initiative, which helps small businesses grow in online sales and marketing. Keren-Shemesh, part of the Ogen Group, will provide long-term mentorship to small business owners selected to participate in the initiative.
“Small businesses are the heart of the economy and last year we felt the need to do more for them,” said Barak Regev, who heads Google Israel. “We joined Ogen to help and financially support more businesses, while continuing our efforts to digitize small businesses in Israel. “
Ogen, formerly the Israel Free Loans Association (IFLA), was founded in 1990 to help new immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union adjust to life in Israel. It has since expanded to provide affordable loans to low- and middle-income families and small business owners.
To date, Ogen has made over 65,000 interest-free loans, totaling over $ 350 million. Jn