Jakub Lichterman is in 10th grade at Beth Tfiloh High School in Pikesville. He enjoys fencing and the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game. Jakub was a previous participant in SIF: Social Innovation Fellowship. He shares his experiences about this exciting hands-on entrepreneurship program.
What made you decide to do Social Innovation Fellowship?
I moved to Baltimore from Oakland, California, in the Summer of 2021. One of the first things I noticed about Baltimore was that everyone had such deep roots here. To me, Baltimore was just a place. But I wanted to be connected, to care about the community of Baltimore. So when I saw this opportunity to get involved with the community, I readily volunteered for it, hoping it would bring me the sense of belonging I craved. I can say confidently that because of SIF, I now care deeply about the Baltimore community. I am now a Baltimorean.
What have you learned by doing this program?
SIF is about startups that focus on Jewish ethics and social change. From the program, I learned how Judaism calls upon us to do what we can to make the world a better place. The program taught me about Jewish business ethics and moral responsibilities, lessons which I can take with me for the rest of my life. Additionally, I learned how startups can be a great channel for generating change. But my greatest takeaway was the entrepreneurial mindset, a unique and innovative approach to problems which can be applied not only to entrepreneurship but to any problems you might encounter in life.
What has been the most rewarding experience due to SIF?
My most rewarding experience during the SIF program was the culmination of everything with demo day. On demo day, each group has a chance to present the startups they have been working on throughout the program. Entrepreneurs judge each group’s presentation and decide on a winner. It felt so great to see the product of all our group’s hard work and put forth the idea into the business world with feedback from experts in the real business world. It was also rewarding to have a pitch experience where we try to convince investors to invest in our product, which prompted our group to continually examine and improve our business model and taught me so much about the business world. And besides, I won a gift card!
How do you think your experience with SIF will impact you in the future?
My biggest takeaway from SIF was the entrepreneurial mindset. This unique and insightful approach to problem-solving will stay with me forever. I hope that in the future I will be equipped with the right tools and methods to continue to innovate in the face of adversity.
If you could share one word to describe SIF what would it be?
Why should someone get involved with SIF?
Earlier, I stated that I volunteered for SIF because I wanted to feel connected to the community. I had just moved and didn’t feel as connected as I hoped to be, but you don’t have to be new to Baltimore to build a renewed sense of community. Researching the social challenges that plague Baltimore and working to help impact them instilled in me a deeper sense of connectedness to the people all around me. Getting involved with SIF can help you contribute to your community in a meaningful way.
How do you spend your free time and what else are you currently involved in?
I love the sport of fencing, and you can find me at my fencing club, Capital Fencing Academy, on most weekday evenings. I also run a lot to improve my general fitness. When I am not fencing or running, I like to read, keep up with the latest Marvel movies and TV shows, and sleep (a lot). Right now, I am involved in an ongoing partnership between my school, Beth Tfiloh, and a number of other schools and religious organizations in Baltimore to cultivate pockets of green space within our concrete jungles for city students to have outdoor nature experiences.
Interested in being a part of SIF? Learn more at Baltimore Teen Programs | 4Front