Business in Brief

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University, college students set
to strike today over budget cuts

Students are planning to hold coordinated protests at university and college campuses throughout Israel today against likely cuts to higher education in the upcoming government budget. Classes at some institutions will be disrupted by a two-hour student strike. The timing is set to coincide with a hearing on academic budget cutbacks this morning by the Knesset’s Finance Committee. Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee, is scheduled to attend the meeting and is expected to express his opposition to any cuts to the higher education budget. (Lior Dattel)

Steinitz’s last hurrah? Early refund
for those eligible for negative income tax

The final set of negative income-tax payments to low-income earners for 2011 will be moved up from April 15 to March 20, ahead of the Passover holiday, according to instructions given by incumbent Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to Doron Arbely, director of the tax authority. The total sum, NIS 226 million, will enable more than 170,000 workers eligible for the grant to use it to cover their holiday expenses. The payment will bring the sum total of negative income-tax grants for 2011 to NIS 510 million. Employed and self-employed people earning up to NIS 6,500 a month and meeting other eligibility requirements can now file to receive their grants for 2012, with the first payment scheduled for July of this year. (Moti Bassok)

Students design database to connect Palestinian job-seekers, Israeli employers

An online database facilitating the matching of Palestinian job-seekers with Israeli businesses seeking workers is one of this year’s winners of the Business for Peace competition organized by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. Work Combinations is the creation of M.B.A. students Eran Shani, Yaniv Gelbard and Ilan Sosnovitch. Each day tens of thousands of Palestinians cross into Israel seeking work in a catch-as-catch can manner. Word of mouth is the only way Israelis who need willing hands can find suitable workers, Sosnovitch says. “The model allows Israeli employers and Palestinian workers to find each other efficiently,” he explained. Two other prizes were awarded for an online system for job outsourcing between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and for increasing the role of women in the labor market. (Hila Weissberg)

Nipendo secures $8 million investment
from Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing

Nipendo, a startup company offering a cloud-based platform for online inter-business trade, said yesterday that it completed an $8 million round of funding led by Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures. The round raises the total amount of capital raised by Nipendo to $11 million after securing $3 million from Magma Venture Partners in 2009. The new funding will be used to expand its marketing operations and win business in the United States, where it is opening an office in Boston, the company said. It also plans to extend operations into China. Nipendo was founded in 2007 by brothers Eyal and Alon Rosenberg and has a staff of 50. (Inbal Orpaz)  

Yuval Steinitz.Credit: Flash 90