The first ever Jewish property and construction networking event – bringing an array of experts all under one roof – will open its doors this week.
JTrade, which takes place on 14 May at the Business Design Centre in Islington, features anyone and everyone in the property and construction trades, from architects and engineers, to interior designers, landscape artists and furniture makers.
Former construction project manager Ari Feferkorn, 27, who opened his own company two years ago, came up with the idea for JTrade after being told there were no Jewish suppliers to work with.
But his successful career in construction taught him the opposite was true.
And once he considered how many Jewish suppliers there were in the industry, he had a lightbulb moment: why not create a networking event where thousands of like-minded Jewish professionals could come together in one place?
“There are so many companies who supply the industry,” he says. “You can build a full product from A-to-Z with Jewish suppliers, so why not support Jewish people? I thought we should bring everyone together under one roof and make it happen.”
Plenty of people told Feferkorn the event wouldn’t happen. “Everyone told me it wasn’t going to work,” he says. “I said I’m willing to try. I’m not doing this event for money, I’m doing it because I believe there’s a big potential for the community and for Jews to work together, whether they’re from Stamford Hill or Mill Hill.”
In fact, demand for JTrade has been so great, that he has had to move the event from a hotel hall to the Business Design Centre. He’s now expecting 190 stands and more than 2,500 attendees.
“The requests have been non-stop,” he says. “This is the first time anything like this is happening.”
The event will also include expert panels throughout the day, with speeches from important figures in property, from MPs to lawyers.
“Everyone you need to know in the property and construction business will be there,” says Feferkorn.
“We are giving businesspeople the ability to reach out and network with others.”
Feferkorn’s motivations are entirely altruistic: his main concern is to enable the Jewish community to support each other, and indeed, for different communities to work together regardless of where they live or their level of observance.
He hopes the event will enable attendees to increase their network, as well as help jobseekers make connections and find a job.
“A brother should support a brother,” he says. “Instead of making fundraising dinners and raising money, this is a way to support your community by employing Jewish suppliers.
“If you support me, you’re not only supporting me, you’re supporting my staff. By supporting one company, you’re supporting many families and their children and putting food on the table.”
Anyone interested can register free for the event, which includes kosher refreshments and a wine tasting.
“Even if you don’t exhibit, come to visit and network the room,” he says. “This is going to be one of the UK’s biggest Jewish events.”
- JTrade takes place on 14 May at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street, Islington. Details: www.jtrade.co.uk, or call 020 8806 1998