Glass ceilings are made of glass, not concrete

(Pictured above: Ibrahim Nsasra, Yosi Nitzan (Mayor of Lehavim), Faez Abu Sahiben (Mayor of Rahat), Nir Zamir (Mayor of Bnai Shimon Regional Council), Sandrine Monstma (Bridges Israel) and Moshe Powel (Idan HANegev) after signing the economic partnership agreement between Bridges and Tamam.)

JFN Israel member and social impact investor Ibrahim Nsasra shares with the JFN international community his personal journey towards impact investment in Bedouin society.

In order to break through glass ceilings, one must first deeply internalize that they are constructed of glass and not concrete. 

For those of you who I have not yet had the pleasure to meet, my name is Ibrahim Nsasra. I am married to Naama and we have four children and we live in the Negev town of Lakiya, where I grew up with my 32 brothers and sisters. I am a 38-year old Bedouin economic and social entrepreneur.

I began to pursue my dream of becoming a business man at the age of 21 when I opened my first business, Lahav Bus Company, with 3 old transits.

In geographic and social peripheries, such as Bedouin society in the Negev, you will find as countless opportunities as you will hardships. The business community is aware of this and wants to build partnerships with local business leaders in order to realize financial and social returns.

Ibrahim Nsasra
Ibrahim Nsasra

On December 8th, I signed the first-ever impact investment agreement made with a Bedouin business-owner in Israel.  I am delighted to share that Bridges Israel will invest 14 million shekel in Tamam Holding Company’s Nazid food business.

This investment will enable us both to increase profit and combat the 80% unemployment rate among Bedouin women in the Negev.  We started in 2013 with 3 employees producing 300 meals/day, in 2019 we have 120 employees producing 20,000 meals/day. By 2022, I hope to increase the number of employees to 300 and create new production lines that focus on new markets. Profit and social welfare can live in harmony; one needs not come at the expense of the other.

Each society, each culture, each place – all with their unique needs for both philanthropic giving and impact investing. Over the last several years, I have become engrossed with developing collaborative investment and implementation models, which account for the cultural nuances of Bedouin society while offering practical resolutions for business owners, investors, government officials and philanthropists.  

I, like many of you, make a combination of philanthropic contributions and social investments, as they both are necessary when tackling issues of inequality and access. At present, I impact invest by building companies that offer culturally-guided employment – as an answer to the employment crisis we currently face. My philanthropic contributions focus on the future, which is why I founded and invest in STEM education and network-building among young Bedouin through the Tamar Center.  

In awe of the collaboration happening in both the impact investing and philanthropic community, I am reminded not to take for granted that the walls between us are too made of glass and not concrete, and for the sake of society, we must do our best to break them down. 

Here is an article in Hebrew about this impact investment published in Globes magazine this week >>