It is estimated that there are up to 330,000 Israeli’s in the diaspora. A look at global statistics reveals that Israelis are resident in any given country around the world; it is rare for a country or place in the world to have no Israelis because they immigrate in large numbers to foreign countries. When they arrive in those countries, some of them choose to become entrepreneurs and start businesses; and establish financially in those countries.
When it comes to integration, Israeli’s living in other countries integrate and acclimatise, but some do so at a much slower rate and choose to stick to the familiar by interacting and engaging mainly with fellow Israeli’s and other Jews in their communities. We sat down with Israeli millionaire, Tom John Light and in a revealing interview he explained his business success, his charity work with an orphanage, and his philosophy behind it.
Tom John Light is 32 and moved from Israel to Bulgaria where he currently lives and runs his business. He is a successful Israeli who has acclimatized and integrated well. Between private jet flights, managing a successful gambling technology platform and doing charity work by supporting an orphanage, Tom has taken root in the local community in Sofia. He has adopted a large orphanage in the city of Sofia and has been very active in providing funding and supporting programmes in the orphanage.
Interviewer: Tom, tell us why you live in Bulgaria
Tom John Light: I first came to Bulgaria as part of my job as Vice President of SBTech Worldwide. The company’s is headquartered in Bulgaria so I moved there. This is a huge company and a leader in its field of technology and sports betting platforms and solutions. As Vice President I have directed a number of significant changes such as integration of blockchain technology in sports betting to enable the safety of cryptocurrencies to serve the company’s customers and overseen milestones in growth and expansion.
In 2017 I left SBTech to set up my own app development and gambling software company. I opted to set it up in Bulgaria and the company currently employs about 150 people.
Interviewer: How did you get appointed to such a senior position?
Tom John Light: “Entrepreneurs and visionary business people tend to find their purpose by the age of 19. So by 19 I already moved to Los Angeles in the United States of America to specialize in a company called InfoSearh Media (ISHM). The company was a huge and international Internet marketing company for some of the largest corporations such eBay, Amazon, and others.
My first big sale was a website I created called Answerbag which provides hacks and explains to users how to do things themselves. The website was sold to Demand Media for $5 million and it was turned into Ehow.com which is now a large and successful website that provides solutions to problems people face every day. The sale of Answerbag was my exit.
Interviewer: Tell us about your community involvement in Sofia
Tom John Light: “I have always been concerned about the welfare of children and have always strived to contribute in my own way to solving problems and finding lasting solutions to the issues that affect children. In Israel I was involved in fundraising as well as volunteering to create and run kindergartens for asylum seekers in southern Tel Aviv. Despite the political controversy surrounding the issue, it has always had a place in my heart and my compassion for children transcends race, culture, and heritage.
When I first relocated to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, I was exposed to a large orphanage located in the city. The orphanage had dozens of children. The truth is that I have been very fortunate and blessed. I have found great success in business and I have become a successful millionaire. So it was vital to me that I give back and provide support to the vulnerable in the society. I know firsthand the value of having someone who believes in you and supports you. I then decided to be that person for the children in the orphanage.
I began by donating to the children at the orphanage. On different occasions I donated electrical appliances, washing machines, and other things to make the orphanage more comfortable. When winter came I took the dozens of children from the orphanage to the mall and I told them to shop for whatever they wanted. Everyone got new and nice coats, winter gloves, and clothes. I realized that giving them these things helped to build their self-esteem because they would be dressed in nice clothes like everyone else at school. I believe it is necessary for a child to have high self-worth and high self-esteem because it helps in proper child development and in fulfilling their purpose as adults.
At the beginning of every school year I purchased comprehensive school supplies including schoolbags, books, pencil cases, and personal gear for each child. The happiness on the faces of the children was definitely worth it.
Interviewer: Many Israeli’s live abroad but they do not integrate in this manner, what do you think of this?
Tom John Light: In my opinion, it is important and equally rewarding for Israeli business men and women to be involved in their communities abroad. First of all, it does good for the soul and contributes to wellbeing, and creates a feeling of belonging in the country. In addition, it gives Israel and Jews a good image. It promotes cross-cultural exchange. Some locals in Bulgaria were exposed to Israel because of me and I hope I made a good impression.
For instance, my work with the orphanage will leave an impression on the kids and speak well of Israel. Consequently, I believe it can lead to Israelis being viewed in a positive light round the world.
Interviewer: So what is next for Tom John Light?
Tom John Light: As I said earlier, I am passionate about providing solutions for children that gives them a better life and more opportunities. Therefore I will continue to support the orphanage and its programmes, and I hope that my involvement will make life better for the dozens of children in the orphanage.