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Winners named in Rising Tide Capital's Start Something Challenge

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On Aug. 4, three New Jersey entrepreneurs defied limitations in the money-lending process by winning a combined $22,500 to help grow their businesses at the Start Something Challenge Grande Finale in Jersey City.

The event, hosted by Jersey City-based nonprofit Rising Tide Capital, is a statewide pitch competition aimed to create business opportunities for New Jersey’s entrepreneurs.

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Winning first place was Ninotchka Johnson, who received $10,000 to help grow her handbag and accessories company, Top Notch by Design.

“For a while I didn’t know where to start as a passionate artist and someone who is new to entrepreneurship,” Johnson said in a statement. “The Start Something Challenge became a solid base, served as a good starting point and pushed me in the right direction. I am really excited to take advantage of the resources RTC has to offer by attending upcoming workshops and seminars.”

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Second place belonged to Kimberly Sumpter, a Jersey City native who owns Wax Kandy, which produces scented, handmade, keepsake candles. She received $7,500 to increase production.

Joanna Chmarzewska, another Jersey City native, was granted $5,000 for her business, Crazy for Italia, which distributes waterproof, inflatable seabags.

Although only three finalists won cash prizes at the event, all finalists will receive prizes from RTC that are valued over $10,000.

The Start Something challenge represents just one of RTC’s initiatives as it partners with New Jersey City University to provide technical and acceleration services to New Jersey’s entrepreneurs utilizing a recent grant of $500,000 provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.


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