146 CBA graduates join an alumni network of 968 Rising Tide Entrepreneurs throughout New Jersey
January 19, 2015 (Jersey City) — Of the approximately 800,000 businesses in New Jersey, 700,000 are microbusinesses with five or less employees. Microbusinesses not only provide jobs for the entrepreneurs who establish them, but they also contribute to the local tax base, directly impacting the quality of life in their communities. Last Thursday, Rising Tide Capital, a Jersey City nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs to start businesses in underserved communities, graduated 146 entrepreneurs from its nationally-recognized Community Business Academy.
These new entrepreneurs—empowered with education and access to the support and resources they need to start or grow a successful business—joined an alumni network of 968 graduates across Northern New Jersey. The graduation ceremony was held at Saint Peter’s University Mac Mahon Student Center and celebrated the achievements of eight concurrent CBA classes—taught in both Spanish and English–from the fall semester.
“It is truly inspiring to see the progress Rising Tide Capital has made in 10 years. Not only are we graduating our 1,000th entrepreneur, but we are also currently operating our programs in two counties and five towns in English and Spanish. We have come a long way from 2006, when we only had one class of 16 students at the Urban League on MLK Drive,” said Jay Savulich managing director of programs.
Savulich has taught and developed content for the CBA since its inception. “Now that they are equipped with the skills and resources to start their business journeys, our new graduates represent hope for the future of Northern New Jersey’s struggling urban corridors.”
The evening began with a networking reception that included the graduating class of entrepreneurs and their guests, CBA alumni, local small business development organizations and funders over live music and light refreshments. During the ceremony, graduates received a Community Business Academy completion certificate and free membership into the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. Featured speakers included Virginia Bender of Saint Peter’s University, Rising Tide Capital’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees Doug Forrester, cofounders Alex Forrester and Alfa Demmellash as well as representatives from the eight sessions of the CBA.
Hudson County resident, John Henry Soto expressed his appreciation of the program. “While I was already in business when I started the CBA, the class really helped me tie up some loose ends and put all the pieces together. Weekly, my classmates inspired me with their knowledge and energy, while our instructor held us accountable and made it so much fun. It’s so important for us to not only grow our businesses but to get involved and help expand this program that helped us,” Soto said.
The CBA, offered in locations throughout Hudson and Essex Counties, teaches entrepreneurs business fundamentals including budgeting, marketing, bookkeeping and financing. Each CBA student receives a full-tuition waiver—covered by Rising Tide Capital’s funding partners—and continued business support through RTC’s Business Acceleration Services Program.
“Your journey with Rising Tide Capital doesn’t end here, this is just the beginning. We exist to support you to accomplish all of your goals for your businesses, your families and your communities. We believe in you! You are the engines of our economy,” said Alfa Demmellash co-founder and CEO of Rising Tide Capital.
Rising Tide Capital (RTC) is a Jersey City-based nonprofit organization founded in 2004 by Harvard graduates Alex Forrester and Alfa Demmellash. RTC helps entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses by providing a 12-week Community Business Academy—supplemented by year-round workshops, coaching and networking events. These programs are currently offered in Spanish and in English in four cities across Northern New Jersey: Jersey City, Newark, Union City, and Orange Township. As of June 2014, 968 entrepreneurs have graduated from the CBA and together, they operate 459 businesses in New Jersey. RTC’s model of entrepreneurship development has received national recognition from President Obama to CNN Heroes.
To learn more, visit www.RisingTideCapital.org.