The author, program director for Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas, describes how Bikkurim has been the proud home of 26 innovative start-ups over the past decade. They have served as a laboratory for new ideas, giving them physical space, start-up capital, skills training, coaching, consulting, a peer community, visibility, and more. Their goal has been to nurture the growth of these ideas, help them become effective organizations, and enable them to achieve lasting impact. This article highlights some of what Bikkurim has learned in the "lab" over the past decade and its understanding of what enables innovators to gain credibility, attract investors, and bring projects to scale.
Of the 26 organizations Bikkurim has helped incubate, 5 have ceased operations, 9 have created high-quality small or local programs, and 12 are actively pursuing growth and expansion. For some of these projects, still in their early stages of development, it is hard to tell where this growth and expansion will lead.