Ossi’s Success: from a small beachside restaurant to a director and mentor for entrepreneurs

 The business entrepreneur, Ossi Hillel Fine, started her way after purchasing a stand on the boardwalk, became a director and a business woman, and is one of IZUN’s mentors

Meet Osnat (Ossi) Hillel Fine, owner of an independent company which accompanies different business men and women and entrepreneurs. In addition, Ossi is a director in 3 public companies in Israel. Ossi was recruited 2 years ago as a mentor for Jasmine’s IZUN program, which turned out to be an inspirational story, just like her career.

From a food stand to a restaurant

In the last three years, Ossi, 57, a mother of two, residing in Tel Aviv- Yaffo, has been investing her time accompanying business entrepreneurs, and calls herself: The Great Number Two. Today, she is accompanying Adi Shfara’m, an entrepreneur in real-estate in Israel and abroad, who developed many private initiatives in technology. Moreover, she is a director in 3 companies traded in Israel and abroad- ECB Biotechnology Ltd., XTL Biopharmaceutical Ltd. and Priortic Ltd.

Ossi is an inspirational figure for many women. She is determined and faith in everything she does. She is courageous and takes on new challenges to realize her dreams. Her story begins right after she was released from the army, when she took her first steps into the business world and opened a restaurant in Tel- Aviv’s marina. when she was asked about taking risks, she said: “I was much braver back then”, and explains her decision to dive in:  “during my army service, I enjoyed traveling to Taba in Sini a lot, but my family wasn’t very happy about it, and one day my brother told me- if you like the sea, there’s a stand for rental in the marina by the beach- take it”. Ossi didn’t think twice, and rented the stand, although her financial situation wasn’t good, but her business orientation kicked in. “I never had any money, so I borrowed from other stand owners”, she remembers, “then I transformed the stand into a restaurant, changed its nature and sold it after 18 months of massive success”. Today, the place is known as the famous Fortuna restaurant.

The way to success in through the sea

Selling the restaurant was only the beginning of a long successful business career for Ossi. She continued to work around the clock, opened a neighborhood pub then met her partner and decided to travel the sea with him. “I wanted to take another direction, and I did. I started sailing. Today, I’m also a skipper”. A few months after sailing, she returned home to her family’s business in water- heaters, which turned out to be the best business school for her. “there I learned all the business errors”, she says, “I worked with my brother and learned everything, from production to sales, customer service, marketing. I came from the industry, life is not only financial plans”. Soon Ossi realized that she needs to study, and she did, majoring in classical studies and business. She decided to work in a hi-tech company in the marcom field, after starting her Master’s in business management in Tel Aviv university. She also had a baby at home, but that didn’t stop her.

From failure comes success

32 years old Ossi dives in the business world again and establishes a venture capital fund, which led her into the directors’ world, as she performed as a director in Leumi Bank’s venture fund. “all of a sudden, I can see a portfolio of 100 different companies, a new world opened up”, says Ossi, who has been a director in 7 different companies in the past 15 years, mostly technological and investment companies. At some point, she joined a small start- up “Newton”, which idea was to establish a paddle platform for jets, cars, generators and more. “I learned everything about start- ups there”, she explains, “but the company shut down after 16 years, because we couldn’t raise any more money. We aimed high with our idea, but it was a step up for us. I traveled and visited car companies all over the world, learned a new language. This experience has helped me and is helping me a lot as a director”.

Today, Ossi is one of Jasmine’s program IZUN’s mentors and passes on her knowledge and experience to other participants.

“Kiram’s agenda fascinated me”

IZUN, one of Jasmine’s programs, has 5 cycles which aim to build a strong generation of female economic leadership, becoming a part of decision- making and an influential power in the Israeli economy and society.

“The program aims to empower independent women and open up doors to influential key- positions as directors in the public, municipal sector and leading companies in Israel”, Kiram explains which can see the long- term results of this program, “I believe that these women will break through and integrate in these positions, influencing other women and encouraging them to enter the public sector and become a string influential power.”

About IZUN, Ossi says: “I met Kiram and was fascinated by the program, by her and by her agenda. The fact that this program addresses the needs of different women from different backgrounds is one of the most important objectives, so I decided to join. I was paired with Angel Al-Fahel, a manager at Super- Pharm. I accompanied her with determination for 18 months. What was interesting about this is that we both applied eventually for the government directors’ league, she was accepted, and I wasn’t. I was very happy for her, I’m proud of her, she is a wonderful and worthy woman.” Ossi explains with a smile about the program’s contribution to her as a mentor: “it’s fun to help someone make their dream come true. Changes start where there are determined women”.

What advice would you give other business women?

Don’t be modest, we are way too modest. When I negotiate for someone else, I know how to fight, but when it comes to me, I become the apologizing type sometimes”.