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Millennial Minded

Rising Tide Capital offers entrepreneurs prize of up to $10K in business pitch competition

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Alfa Demmellash is co-founder and CEO of Rising Tide Capital.
Alfa Demmellash is co-founder and CEO of Rising Tide Capital. - ()

Calling all New Jersey entrepreneurs! Rising Tide Capital, a nonprofit micro-enterprise development organization in Jersey City, is currently accepting submissions for its sixth annual “Start Something Challenge.”

The business pitch competition will provide aspiring and budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to win up to $10,000 in startup costs.

“The ‘Start Something Challenge’ is unique in that participating entrepreneurs receive hours of training and expert feedback and have access to workshops, mentoring and coaching,” Alfa Demmellash, co-founder and CEO of Rising Tide Capital, said. “Throughout the process, they learn how to transform an idea or concept into a business model, effectively promote their business and perfect an elevator pitch. They also become a part of Rising Tide Capital’s networking community of entrepreneurs, experts and funders.”

Over the past five years, nearly 400 entrepreneurs from across New Jersey have entered the competition, with winners receiving nearly $150,000 in total grant support for their businesses.

Demmellash, who created Rising Tide Capital in 2004 with co-founder Alex Forrester, believes that, by creating business development programs specifically focused on local entrepreneurs’ abilities to begin, sustain and grow their own businesses, she can help shape the economic growth of Jersey City.

“At Rising Tide Capital, we are committed to transforming economically challenged communities through entrepreneurship,” Demmellash said. “And the entrepreneurial journey today is a much more widely shared aspiration.”

As larger companies continue to innovate in today’s economy, Demmellash said, members of the workforce may discover gaps and challenges that suddenly require outsourced services.

“Many of our entrepreneurs are simply responding to a demand or a need that they see,” she said. “They are asking what their role can be in solving problems that arise.”

Tremendous growth in the shared economy, Demmellash added, also has led to an increase in entrepreneurship.

“What does it take for a family in this state to be able to provide for their kids while also growing their wealth and assets for future sustainability and resilience?” she said. “There is a lot of insecurity amongst those in that workforce right now, and they are turning to entrepreneurship as a way to increase their income on a daily basis.

“Nearly 70 percent of the people who come to us already are working in a job while starting their business on nights and on weekends.”

Today, on average, a new business is formed every three days at Rising Tide Capital in Jersey City and in five inner cities of northern New Jersey.

This year’s “Start Something Challenge” has a submission deadline of June 30.

While there is no entry fee, participants must be 18 years or older; must either be a New Jersey resident or a graduate of Rising Tide Capital’s Community Business Academy; and must have an annual business revenue of $250,000 or less.

Interested parties are invited to contact Rising Tide Capital for more information.

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