Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Offers Words of Encouragement to Rising Tide Capital’s Fall 2022 Class at Community Business Academy Graduation

On Thursday, January 19, Rising Tide Capital (Rising Tide) hosted its biannual virtual Community Business Academy (CBA) graduation honoring the Fall 2022 class. This graduating cohort of 162 entrepreneurs hails from 59 cities and towns across New Jersey. Featured event speakers included Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, U.S. representative for New Jersey’s 12th congressional district, and Tanuja M. Dehne, CEO & President of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, who served as the event’s keynote speaker. The CBA is Rising Tide’s nationally recognized 12-week bilingual experiential learning program focused on starting, running, and maintaining a business.

“After centuries of disinvestment in Black, Brown, and low-income communities, members of these communities have found themselves locked out of the middle class,” remarked Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “Organizations like Rising Tide Capital and initiatives like the Community Business Academy are essential for ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to thrive. By offering affordable, accessible bilingual training to aspiring entrepreneurs in New Jersey, this program is providing Garden State residents in my district and beyond with the tools they need to live the lives they desire and deserve.”

“I’m thrilled to celebrate the graduates of the Community Business Academy, through Rising Tide Capital,” says Tanuja M. Dehne. “These entrepreneurs are true leaders in their communities, and their expertise and resolve as they grow their businesses will create meaningful change for their lives, their families, and our state.”

Additional speakers included Rising Tide Co-founder and CEO Alfa Demmellash, President of Integrity Health and outgoing Rising Tide Founding Chair Doug Forrester, and Rising Tide Chief Operating Officer, Alex Forrester.

“Twice a year, for nearly 20 years, Rising Tide has been honored to celebrate the accomplishments of emerging local business leaders. We are so thankful that they have chosen to entrust us with guiding and providing them with the necessary tools as they pursue their dreams. The knowledge, social networks, and resources they take with them will create a path toward economic independence and sustainability,” stated Alfa Demmellash, CEO and Co-founder of Rising Tide Capital. “After today, these entrepreneurs become a part of our vibrant Rising Tide community—a community of supportive entrepreneur alumni, coaches, mentors, staff, and volunteers. Additionally, I would like to thank Congresswoman Watson-Coleman and Tanuja Dehne for taking time out of their busy schedules to congratulate our graduates and help ignite the entrepreneurial spirit within.”

With this class of 162 graduates the CBA, which began in 2006 with 15 just participants, has produced almost 8,000 graduates nationally. Over two-thirds of the Rising Tide Capital Entrepreneur Community is female, and the majority identify as persons of color. Within 2 years of graduating from the CBA, entrepreneurs achieve a 95% increase in business sales, a 63% increase in household income, and a 59% reduction in the use of public assistance. On average, graduates of the Community Business Academy open a new business every 3 days and enjoy an 80% survival rate after 5 years in business.

Rising Tide has expanded nationally by partnering with community organizations in cities and rural areas to implement their signature entrepreneur training program, the Community Business Academy. Rising Tide has opened its innovative new national headquarters and business incubator space, 311MLK, located at 311 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Jersey City’s Greenville neighborhood. To learn more about Rising Tide Capital, go to https://www.risingtidecapital.org/.

About Rising Tide Capital:
Rising Tide Capital is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey that seeks to transform lives and communities through entrepreneurship. The Rising Tide model also operates in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, and South Carolina through partnerships with local nonprofits. Rising Tide’s signature programs include the Community Business Academy, Credit to Capital, and Business Acceleration Services, equipping entrepreneurs to pursue greater economic security and deliver value to their communities. The organization’s model is unique in its focus on consistent mentoring over time to support greater sustainability. Rising Tide’s community includes 7,500 entrepreneurs across New Jersey with programs delivered in English and Spanish in Newark, Jersey City, East Orange, Elizabeth, Union City, and New Brunswick. The organization’s work has been recognized by President Obama at the White House, the World Economic Forum, CNN, and many more.

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