Thanks to the initiative of our Purchasing Manager, Alon Marcus, Shaare Zedek Medical Center hosted about 200 local business owners for the first "Business Arena" conference – a new initiative in conjunction with the Jerusalem Municipality, the Finance Ministry and the Digital Israel enterprise to connect Jerusalem institutions to city businesses. Shaare Zedek – with an annual purchasing budget of 0.5 Billion NIS – is the first institution in Jerusalem to run an event like this.
The attendees heard an overview of the Medical Center and our future development plans from our Deputy Director of Finance, Ruth Ralbag; our Logistics Head, Gadi Ilan, talked about the hospital's day-to-day operations and our different needs and Alon Marcus himself described how the purchasing works and the various possibilities and opportunities open to local businesses.
Director-General Prof. Ofer Marin opened the day's proceedings together with Yehuda Ben-Yosef, responsible for Business Advancement in the Jerusalem Municipality. Nir Cohen, Director of the "Business Arena" initiative in the Municipality, presented the project.
Jerusalem Mayor, Moshe Leon: "Small and medium-size businesses are the economic impetus for the city's growth, and thus "Business Arena" was born, connecting major institutions in Jerusalem with quality suppliers. Shaare Zedek Medical Center is undoubtedly one of the city's most important institutions and we will all benefit if its purchasing budget remains in the hands of Jerusalem businesses. We will continue to make every effort to promote these relationships and to incorporate them into our ongoing activities."
Prof. Ofer Marin, Director-General of Shaare Zedek: "Shaare Zedek Medical Center is one of the largest and leading organizations in the city and has been serving its residents now for more than 117 years. We are more than happy to strengthen the local economy, to cooperate with Jerusalem businesses with true Jerusalem pride and a firm belief in the quality and ability of the business sector in the city. I congratulate the Municipality and the Finance Ministry on this great initiative and I'm sure that some important connections will be made today."
Mrs. Ruth Ralbag, Deputy Director of Finance: "Shaare Zedek's future development programs obligate us to expand our circle of suppliers and service providers. There are currently around 700 Jerusalem suppliers in our database and I'm sure that from this important day we will get to know more and more excellent local suppliers and be able to help their growth while also helping Shaare Zedek's growth and the success of the entire city."
There are about 44,000 businesses in Jerusalem, with almost half being small businesses. There are also approximately 30 public and private bodies whose joint purchasing budgets amount to 50 million NIS a year and more. For example, the Hebrew University's annual purchasing budget is 800 million NIS and Shaare Zedek Medical Center's budget is 0.5 billion NIS a year.
A 2015 Finance Ministry survey among small and mid-sized businesses found that although freelancers and small businesses represented about 70% of the sample, less than half of them are involved in public purchasing tenders. On the other hand, the percentage of small and mid-size businesses who win these tenders is quite high – 66% of those who submit applications.
The "Business Arena" initiative led by the Jerusalem Municipality comes to fill this gap, with the aim of encouraging the big institutions and other businesses in Jerusalem to purchase from local small and mid-size businesses. This is done – among other things – by creating joint meetings for purchasers and businesses, a designated website, courses, professional trainings and workshops, and individual professional guidance.