Self-employed olim share their experiences and valuable tips.
Being self employed (Atz’ma’i) in Israel, like in any other country, has its advantages and its disadvantages. New immigrants – olim – are often fearful and one of their main concerns is their Hebrew language skills. If you are living in a community with a large Anglo population you may be able to get by with minimal Hebrew skills. Generally, you probably wont be able to rely solely on the Anglo community for clients and you will have to develop your Hebrew language skills to increase your customer base.
Israeli income tax laws differ considerably to those in the US, Canada, Australia, UK or South Africa. There are fewer “tax saving” opportunities in Israel. Consult with an accountant and a tax expert before you open your business. Trade licensing and educational requirements also differ in Israel. As an Atz’ma’i you have to open a file, at the Income Tax Authorities (Mas Hachnasah), Value Added Tax (Maam) and National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi).
A business coach or counselor can help you through the various stages from setting up a business plan, taking loans, understanding the Israeli market, advertising and marketing campaigns.
MATI – מטי, is a non-profit organization, established in 1991 to assist and promote the development of small and medium businesses (SMEs) in Israel. There are 24 MATI offices throughout Israel, each with their own website. They run a number of courses, some in English, others in Hebrew which are heavily subsidized. They are a good starting point for familiarizing yourself with the Israeli market and business practices. Some of MATI’s programs are subsidized for new immigrants.
We conducted a series of interviews with English speaking immigrants – small and medium sized business owners in Israel. Via a series of standard questions, you will get some insight, the advantages and disadvantages, of being self-employed in Israel.
- A plumber talks about taxes and other hidden costs
- A general dealer near Jerusalem has to make it work
- A beauty consultant used her extensive work experience as a foundation for setting up her own business
- A lawyer born in Israel to immigrant parents knew the ropes before she set up her practice
- Self Employed: The new immigrants guide to registering as an independent worker in Israel By Howard Glick
- Employment, job and career resources