Rising Tide Capital, the Jersey City-based nonprofit with a proven formula for transforming lives in underserved communities through entrepreneurship training, is expanding again. This time, to more rural communities.
On Wednesday, the group announced it will expand to Willmar, Minnesota; Alexandria, Louisiana; Palm Beach County, Florida; and Rochester, New York.
The new sites will join existing network partners in Chicago; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Charleston, South Carolina; as well as Rising Tide’s home state of New Jersey.
For Rising Tide co-founder and CEO Alfa Demmellash, the expansion represents another step in the organization’s long-term vision and mission.
“Entrepreneurship knows no boundaries,” she said. “This opportunity should be accessible to anyone who can benefit from it, regardless of identity, background or geography. Our goal is to build partnerships and collaborations in all 50 states that seek to transform communities and grow opportunities from within.”
Rising Tide has been recognized by President Barack Obama at the White House, at the World Economic Forum and on national news outlets, such as CNN. Last fall, it was awarded $250,000 through a prestigious grant from the Heinz Foundation.
The Rising Tide Network builds partnerships with local organizations to adapt and implement Rising Tide Capital’s award-winning model of equipping underresourced and nontraditional entrepreneurs with the training and resources to build sustainable businesses that directly benefit their neighborhoods.
The average Rising Tide Capital entrepreneur is a single mother of two making at least $20,000 less than what is needed to achieve self-sufficiency.
The cornerstone of Rising Tide Capital’s model is the Community Business Academy, an intensive 12-week training program for entrepreneurs on how to start, grow and sustain a business. The program began in 2006 with 15 participants and, since then, the academy has produced over 3,000 graduates in New Jersey and the surrounding regions. Additionally, the training program continues to yield impressive results; within two years of graduating, Rising Tide’s entrepreneurs achieve a 95% increase in their business sales, a 63% increase in household income and a 59% reduction in the use of public assistance.
This latest cohort will train over 100 entrepreneurs over the coming year, adding to the nearly 2,000 expected to graduate from the Rising Tide Network in 2021. Together, through the CBA, Rising Tide has worked with over 7,000 entrepreneurs to date. Outcome studies of 4,226 graduates of the Community Business Academy show 2,579 businesses started, strengthened or expanded to date — resulting in business ownership, jobs and multigenerational economic opportunity for families in some of the most economically distressed communities in America.
“Through partnerships with local, community-based organizations, we can ensure our model meets the unique needs of these regions,” Demmellash said. “For over 15 years, Rising Tide Capital built and refined the CBA model in New Jersey and through our first pilot model in Chicago. Their success demonstrated that this local empowerment model is effective and popular.”