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New City Kids and Rising Tide Capital win grants in a community grant contest
Two Jersey City-based nonprofits were awarded grants from the Yelp Foundation Gives Local community grant contest. New City Kids, which provides teen leadership development and performing arts opportunities to at-risk, low-income children and teenagers in Jersey City, won the first place $5,000 grant. Rising Tide Capital, a nonprofit that empowers underserved entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses throughout northern New Jersey won the second place $3,000 grant.
New City Kids, located on Fairmount Avenue in Jersey City, offers a variety of programs: After School Centers, which serve 280 children every school day, the Teen Life Internship, which employs 134 high school students, and exciting summer programs. For the past 7 years, 100% of New City Kids’ high school seniors have graduated high school and matriculated into college.
“We’re grateful to the Yelp Foundation for their support of the local community. This grant will allow New City Kids to serve additional youth in Jersey City. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who voted to support these incredible causes,” said Gabriel Stiritz, Development Director at New City Kids.
Rising Tide Capital, which is headquartered on Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City, provides business education and access to local business resources to local entrepreneurs through its 12-week Community Business Academy (CBA), which is supplemented by year-round workshops, coaching and networking events. These programs are currently offered in Spanish and in English in across Hudson, Essex and Union Counties. As of December 2015, 1,387 entrepreneurs have graduated from the CBA and together, they operate more than 550 businesses in New Jersey and the surrounding areas.
“The Yelp Foundation’s mission to support local communities is directly aligned with our mission at RTC,” Rising Tide Capital CEO and co-founder, Alfa Demmellash said. “Entrepreneurs are at the heart of community and the engine of local economic development. We’re so grateful to the Yelp Foundation for their support of our work, and to everyone who supported us in the contest.”
The Yelp Gives Local community grant contest which was held in December 2015, encouraged community members in 75 U.S. cities to support local organizations by voting on the Yelp website. More than 160,000 votes in communities across the United States were cast in the contest. In each market $10,000 in grants were up for grabs for a total of $750,000 donated to local nonprofits.
Each nonprofit in the contest aligned with an area of the Yelp Foundation’s mission to address the needs of local communities, including access to information, education, local economic development, and freedom of expression. Of the many nonprofits considered for participation in the local contest, only three were nominated to be in the running for a share of $10,000, New City Kids, Rising Tide Capital, and UCEDC which is headquartered in Crandford, NJ.
– See the full list of grant winners on the Yelp Blog: http://officialblog.yelp.com/2016/01/750000-in-grants-go-to-nonprofits-through-yelp-foundation-gives-local-contest.html
– Learn more about the Yelp Foundation at YelpFoundation.org
– Learn more about New City Kids at http://newcitykids.org/
– Learn more about Rising Tide Capital at https://www.risingtidecapital.org/
– Interviews are available with Rising Tide Capital Founder and CEO, Alfa Demmellash as well as said Gabriel Stiritz at New City Kids about the impact of this grant on our organization.
– Questions about the Yelp Foundation and media requests can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) connects people with great local businesses. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004. Since then, Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across 32 countries. By the end of Q3 2015, Yelpers had written approximately 90 million rich, local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists. Approximately 89 million unique visitors visited Yelp via their mobile device on a monthly average basis during Q3 2015**. Approximately 79 million unique visitors visited Yelp via their desktop on a monthly average basis during Q3 2015. For more information, please visit http://www.yelp.com or send an email to email@example.com.
New Jersey – Jan. 28, 2016 – Rising Tide Capital(RTC) is kicking-off the 2016 Start Something Challenge (SSC) with the annual “Share Your Story” seminar series—a six-month series of marketing and branding workshops held in both Hudson and Essex Counties. Starting today, Thursday, Jan. 28 in Jersey City, NJ, entrepreneurs can attend one business marketing workshop per month until June to prepare for the chance to win cash prizes through RTC’s statewide business pitch competition. RTC offers year-round seminars as part of the continued services available to Community Business Academy graduates; however, the Share Your Story workshops are open to the public. Attendees will learn how to craft messaging for their target audience, create effective marketing materials for print and the web and put together marketing plans. Each workshop will feature experts in branding, social media, public relations, graphic design and video marketing.
“The Start Something Challenge is a unique opportunity for any New Jersey entrepreneur to strengthen their marketing skills and get the chance to win a business grant,” said Communications Manager and SSC Coordinator Justyna Krygowska. “Last year’s SSC participants, who took advantage of our Share Your Story marketing series, saw a huge improvement in their business. That’s why we hope that in 2016, even more, entrepreneurs attend our preparatory events and put their best foot forward to win the $10,000 grand prize.”
The 5th Annual Start Something Challenge, hosted by Rising Tide Capital, is free to enter and open to any New Jersey resident 18 years or older who either operates a microbusiness making less than $250,000 annually or has a strong business idea. With more than $25,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, including a $10,000 first prize, the competition launches in June 2016. Participants must create a 30-second video commercial for their business or business idea, using the Animoto platform. To ensure that every participant has a chance to win the top prize, Rising Tide Capital provides each entrant with hands-on coaching and tutorials through the following workshops:
Share Your Story: Business Branding Basics
Thursday, January 28th at 6:30 pm, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 440 Hoboken Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306
Share Your Story: Words That Sell
Thursday, February 11th at 6:30pm, Equal Space, 89 Market Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Share Your Story: Social Media
Monday, March 10th at 6:30pm, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 440 Hoboken Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306
Share Your Story: How to Launch a Simple Website
Thursday, April 7th at 6:30pm Location:Online
Share Your Story: Video and Animoto
Thursday, May 5th at 6:30pm Location:TBA
Share Your Story: Creating a PR and Marketing Plan
Thursday, June 23th at 6:30pm Location: Online
For more information about the Start Something Challenge or the Share Your Story marketing and branding seminars, contact Justyna Krygowska at 201-432-4326 x 110 or Justyna@risingtidecapital.org. RSVP for each seminar is mandatory as spaces are limited. Visit the RTC events page to RSVP.
“My former store that my brothers, father & I originally purchased was in Bergenfield, NJ, but all of my clients are in Hoboken and Jersey City.” Mike explained, “I wanted to create a transparent experience for my existing clients, so that they could drive past my store and know I’m only a few minutes away.”
As if opening his business in his hometown wasn’t enough, 20 people gathered to celebrate the opening, including friends, family, clients, and Mayor Steve Fulop was on hand to cut the ribbon to launch the new location.
“Not many can have an experience like this. I was 22 when I started this business and was born and raised in west side area of Jersey City, so to have the mayor come visit and cut the ribbon for something I have toiled over for the past 3 years was a mind-blowing experience. I’m glad I wasn’t speechless because I was also given a formal interview with the mayor, filmed by reporters.” Mike said.
With his new location, Mike says that he is now able to work on his business full-time, and is not only providing laundry services the Jersey City community, but is also providing jobs. He’s hired a driver, a wash & fold staff and is working with a professional organic dry cleaner off-site.
Mike has big hopes for the future of his business, including expansion into multiple locations across Jersey City and Hoboken. He says that much of his growth as a business owner is thanks to his involvement with Rising Tide Capital.
“RTC has been a tremendous help for both the growth of my business and myself as an entrepreneur. The classes I graduated from helped me get a foothold and understanding of business concepts and the network of entrepreneurs and resources is infinite.”
Be sure to visit Mike at New Bridge Laundry on 437 Monmouth Street, Jersey City!
Ten years ago, the first Community Business Academy (CBA) class was held with only 18 entrepreneurs. Today, there are almost 1,387 CBA alumni, many of them forming an active community of entrepreneurs who are invested in transforming their lives through entrepreneurship.
As Rising Tide Capital celebrated 10 years of the Community Business Academy with the graduation of the Fall 2015 class at St. Peter’s University, Managing Director of Programs Jay Savulich also celebrated his tenth year with Rising Tide Capital. He took a moment to reflect on his time at RTC and how the CBA has grown over the years.
How has the CBA grown in the last ten years?
“We’ve grown from a local neighborhood class into an organization that represents students from all over the Northern New Jersey and the tristate area. Just imagine, there were 18 students in our first class; last Wednesday we graduated 130 entrepreneurs! We went from one class taught by me on MLK Drive to nine classes across two counties—this Spring we will be in three counties—all taught by small business professionals who have all been through our instructors training program.”
“In the beginning, Alfa and Alex were writing the curriculum, and I was teaching the class, it was just us. After we had finished the first CBA, we sat down and figured out how we could do it better. We’ve been making it better ever since.”
What were some questions you had to ask yourself when you set out to expand the program?
“When scaling up you have to think about a few things; how do you find different kinds of students? How do we do reach outside of our community? How do you do teach in another language? Starting the Spanish language class was a huge priority for the team. How do you recruit, train and keep other professionals, while teaching the same level of effectiveness as you continue to grow? Lots of things to think about.”
What key developments happened that lead to the growth of CBA?
“We developed a different marketing and outreach team to accommodate more communities, and we have a communications team that makes sure we’re developing messaging for Rising Tide entrepreneurs, community partners—all of our different stakeholders. Also, we now have a published curriculum and more than one office that can accommodate our growing clientele. All of these elements have been key to our growth.”
What’s next for Rising Tide Capital and the CBA?
“From where I sit the ability to serve all the entrepreneurs in New Jersey that need our help would be fantastic and it is a goal that is extremely possible. The state of New Jersey is so underserved with entrepreneurial services, but we have found that some community organizations are natural partners in our work. This is how we have been able to grow to serve more entrepreneurs, and this is the strategy that we will employ to be able to serve even more.”
“So, we are embarking on strategic growth and development. We have the ability to expand even more within New Jersey and possibly beyond, and we are looking to do so sustainably.”
What do you believe is the secret to RTC’s success?
“We have been asked to do so many other things, and it is really easy to be distracted by other opportunities in the community and economic development. But we have a single-minded commitment to one mission, and we aren’t trying to be all things to all people. It’s a laser focus on starting and growing businesses, a dedication to keep improving what we do, instead of adding to the list of things we do.”
What have you learned along the way?
“I’ve learned that when it comes to our clients ‘Support’ is not just knowledge it is also enthusiasm and the belief in the success of an individual. It’s supplying them with the tools and the paths they need access to, in order to meet their goals.”
“Our students are as diverse as the businesses they want to create. They represent many ethnicities, many kinds of experiences, they have different paths. They become connected to us because they believe that entrepreneurship will help them to meet certain needs. It’s a powerful thing to be the source of that connection, and we are always looking for ways that we can better support our entrepreneurs.”
How does it feel to have taken this journey over the past ten years?
“Ten years ago I didn’t know a soul in our neighborhood, and today more people know me than on my own block. It feels good to be connected to the community and to see people continuing to feel so connected to Rising Tide Capital way beyond the relatively short time span that they are engaged in the CBA.”
“It feels like we’ve done a lot, and like we’ve come a long way. I’m happy and excited to see how many successful entrepreneurs we have. There’s still a number of people that I’m in touch with from the first CBA class and it feels great to have that connection with our community of entrepreneurs. I’m looking forward to not only seeing new entrepreneurs grow but also reconnecting with more graduates of the program.”
Jan. 14, 2016 — Yesterday, 139 entrepreneurs and micro business owners graduated from Rising Tide Capital’s (RTC) nationally recognized 12-week Community Business Academy (CBA). The graduation recognized the achievements of students in nine concurrent sessions of the CBA in Jersey City, Union City, Newark, and Orange, with classes in both Spanish and English.
Newark resident, Hilda Mera is the owner of S & A Auto Repair, an auto repair center based in Newark. Hilda is one of 24 graduates from the Fall 2015 Community Business Academy who attended one of RTC’s Spanish language classes.
“Rising Tide Capital has made a huge difference in helping me establish a direction for my business. I came here wondering, ‘How am I going to do this?” How am I going to continue to grow my business? Rising Tide Capital has taken that fear away.’” Mera said.
The Fall 2015 class will join RTC’s current alumni network of 1,248 entrepreneurs who operate a variety of businesses, including professional service providers, artisans, and retail store owners. The CBA, offered in locations throughout Hudson, Essex and now Union County, teaches entrepreneurs business fundamentals including budgeting, marketing, bookkeeping and financing in both English and Spanish. Each CBA student receives a full-tuition waiver—covered by Rising Tide Capital’s funding partners—and continued business support through the Business Acceleration Services Program.
“It was remarkable to stand on the stage at graduation last night and welcome 139 new entrepreneurs to the rising tide entrepreneur family, ” said Jay Savulich, managing director of programs at Rising Tide Capital. “Graduation is one of the few times we get a chance to raise our heads and acknowledge all the hard work that our entrepreneurs have put into completing the CBA. Even though they still have a ways to go on their business journeys, this moment of recognition of their accomplishment means a lot—for them and for us. ”
“Our journey as entrepreneurs has been hard, but at the same time, it has given us the power to make choices. I feel secure and comfortable knowing that RTC will be supporting all of us even after we’ve graduated. This is just the beginning.” Mera explained.
About Rising Tide Capital
Headquartered in Jersey City with offices in Orange and Newark, Rising Tide Capital, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded with the mission to empower entrepreneurs to create and grow small businesses which transform lives and communities. The organization’s vision is to build a replicable model for high-quality entrepreneurial development services that can be adopted locally in other low-income communities. Learn more at www.RisingTideCapital.org
New City Kids and Rising Tide Capital win grants in a community grant contest Two Jersey City-based nonprofits were awarded grants from the Yelp Foundation Gives Local community grant contest. New City Kids, which provides teen leadership development and performing arts opportunities to at-risk, low-income children and teenagers in Jersey City, won the first place $5,000 grant. Rising Tide Capital, a nonprofit that empowers underserved entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses throughout
New Jersey – Jan. 28, 2016 – Rising Tide Capital(RTC) is kicking-off the 2016 Start Something Challenge (SSC) with the annual “Share Your Story” seminar series—a six-month series of marketing and branding workshops held in both Hudson and Essex Counties. Starting today, Thursday, Jan. 28 in Jersey City, NJ, entrepreneurs can attend one business marketing workshop per month until June to prepare for the chance to win cash prizes through RTC’s statewide
This month Rising Tide Entrepreneur Mike Porada, owner of New Bridge Laundry, celebrated the grand opening of his business’ new location in Jersey City. “My former store that my brothers, father & I originally purchased was in Bergenfield, NJ, but all of my clients are in Hoboken and Jersey City.” Mike explained, “I wanted to create a transparent experience for my existing clients, so that they could drive past my store and