Description: a company that promotes peace by bringing rivaling neighbors together in joint business ventures
Startup: $10,000 in 1994
2005 Projected Sales: over $5 million
History Lesson: As the son of a Holocaust survivor, Daniel Lubetzky's purpose in life has been clear from Day One. Instilled with a desire to prevent similar tragedies from occurring, he has always been passionate about resolving the Arab-Israeli conflicts in the Middle East. Says Lubetzky, "[My parents] taught me about building bridges of understanding across communities, as well as about preventing injustice to any human being."
Let's Do Business: After years of writing legislative proposals addressing effective ways to promote peace through business, it was a delicious but obscure sundried-tomato spread in Israel that inspired Lubetzky to put his theories to the test. He located the spread's manufacturer--an Israeli Jew--and showed him the economic benefits of working with his neighbors. Lubetzky convinced him to purchase the glass jars from Egypt rather than Portugal, the sundried tomatoes from Turkey instead of Italy, and the olives from Palestinian farmers. Lubetzky then returned to the United States to market the spread. A board of 11 members, including Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, offered support to get the concept off the ground.
A Common Mission:PeaceWorks has become the driving force behind its nationwide brands: Meditalia and Bali Spice, which include sauces, spreads and noodles. Meditalia brings Arabs, Egyptians, Israelis, Jordanians, Palestinians and Turks together, and Bali Spice products are produced by Buddhists, Christians and Muslims in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. Says Lubetzky, "[Working together] cements relationships between people, humanizes the enemy and gives people a vested interest in preserving those relationships."