Jul.19, 2012 | 8:43 AM–The Kawar family has kept its recipe for distilling premium arak liquor a secret for the past three generations. The recipe is based on the highest quality anise, grape alcohol and water filtered of its impurities.
A decade ago, family members from the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth decided to open an arak distillery in Israel. They modeled their business after the Jordanian branch of the family, which had set-up its own distillery in Amman decades earlier.
In 2011, brothers Anan and Alaa Kawar decided to begin exporting their arak to the United States and Canada. As part of its export efforts, the distillery received assistance from the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry’s Tevel program, which was created to assist Israeli-Arab businesses that want to start selling their products abroad.
“We don’t have the knowledge base about market behavior in other countries,” says Said Salem, the distillery’s CEO. “It’s nothing like [selling arak] in the Israeli market. The Export Institute sent us consultants who filled in a lot of basic knowledge gaps we had.”
The Kawars’ businesss, an Arab-owned company that successfully integrated the Israeli export market, is the exception rather than the norm. Why aren’t there more exports being produced by Israeli Arab-owned businesses?
Kawar believes that Arab-owned manufacturers don’t receive enough support from either the national government or the regional councils in Israel.
“There are no highly-developed industrial areas in the Arab sector,” says Kawar. “Necessary infrastructure is lacking and without it, it’s impossible to develop [industries]. The [Arab] sector lacks significant knowledge and experience in opening up competitive international markets.”
In 2011, exports from Arab-owned businesses totaled $33 million, equivalent to approximately 0.1 percent of total Israeli exports. It might be possible that this can be chalked up to a dearth of basic knowledge.
Two years ago, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute in cooperation with the Authority for the Economic Development of the Arab, Druze and Circassian Sectors and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry launched the Tevel program. Its goal was to double the number of Arab-Israeli exporters within three years.
Since the program’s launch, approximately 30 companies have signed on.
Tevel grants its recipients assistance at the beginning of the export process, and it stays on to offer continuing professional advice throughout the process. Tevel consultants also help business owners with both strategic planning and execution. They play a part in creating marketing plans for foreign markets as well as pinpointing foreign distributors and customers. They also instruct business managers in the proper use of business data, logistics, how to price export orders and help them develop familiarity with the nuts and bolts of export financing….Read More>>