Top Australian businessmen back ORT


19 April 2007 Top Australian businessmen back ORT Two of Australias most successful businessmen have thrown their weight behind ORT JET, a free mentoring programme to help struggling Jewish businesses. Ian Miller, the founder of Australasias largest womens wear specialty retailer Millers Retail, and Dennis Polivnick, who developed the Mrs Fields Cookies franchise in Australia as Director of Cookies Australia, lead the field of 68 highly skilled people who have volunteered to help entrepreneurs overcome obstacles to success. Mr Miller, who co-founded what is now known as Specialty Fashion Group (SFG) in 1993, said: ORT JET is a very worthwhile cause; its a huge mitzvah for the Jewish community. The calibre of people who have volunteered as consultants is astonishingly high they could easily constitute the boards of 10 public companies. As one of ORT JETs top level mentors Mr Miller, whose company boasted a market capitalisation of $360 million in March 2006 and currently employs 5,000 people in 790 outlets, will help to turn around Jewish businesses by providing one-to-one consultations with the business owners and managers. Mr Miller is also one of four experts sitting on the ORT JET Steering Committee which will undertake analyses of businesses that approach ORT JET for help and match them with the appropriate consultant. Mr Polivnick said: To teach a man to fish rather than giving him a fish is a clich but very applicable to what were doing at ORT JET. Its great to get personally involved rather than just give money and hear where the money goes. ORT JET gives me the opportunity to do so much more to be successful in directly assisting somebody and to see them do well with the advice Ive given them. Ian Miller, Natalie Laifer and Dennis Polivnick at the ORT JET launch in Sydney, Australia. The Jewish Entrepreneurial Training programme, which was pioneered to tremendous effect by ORT South Africa, was formally launched in Sydney recently by Australian ORT and the Jewish House. We had a big turn out of some of Sydneys most successful and astute Jewish businesspeople, said ORT JETs Australian CEO, Natalie Laifer. We have launched ORT JET on a very positive and encouraging note. In just one month 68 businesspeople have joined our consultant database 68 generous donations of skills, knowledge and time to choose from in finding an appropriate mentor for a struggling business. The launch featured a live video link with ORT JET South Africa CEO Dr Avron Urison and property developer Steve Zagey, who has been a volunteer consultant for ORT JET South Africa for two years. Dr Urison said he was excited by what was the first international launch of ORT JET and expressed his hope that other countries would follow Australias lead. Mr Zagey described the personal sense of achievement he felt in helping a business to succeed. Ms Laifer told the launch: ORT JETs mission is clear to use the resources, skills-base, knowledge and expertise within the Jewish community to assist distressed Jewish-owned and managed businesses that exhibit a sustainable business model. This is about knowledge and skills transfer, not financial assistance, and is conducted in strictest confidence. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has helped more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish since its foundation in 1880.