JERSEY CITY, N.J., Aug. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The economic recovery that thousands of families are waiting for simply hasn't materialized. So serial entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman - a member of the Priceline.com founding team - and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation are partnering with Rising Tide Capital, a NJ-based micro-enterprise development organization, to do something about it. They have rallied community stakeholders in the region including PSEG, Citi Community Development, The Provident Bank, and The Star-Ledger to back The Start Something Challenge, which includes a statewide pitch competition and entrepreneurship training events.
National unemployment rates remain at 8.2 percent, while the state of affairs in NJ is even tougher at 9.6 percent - the fourth highest level in the U.S. But even employed New Jersey residents are struggling to make ends meet. In Essex and Hudson counties, where Rising Tide Capital currently operates, a mother of two requires an annual income of about $48,000 to be self-sufficient. Meanwhile, the same entrepreneur who comes to Rising Tide Capital for business training is earning less than $33,000 per year.
"The Start Something Challenge is not your typical business plan competition," said Jeff Hoffman, who has also been involved in the launch of numerous startups including uBid.com and ColorJar. "This program follows through to create the new jobs needed to actually revitalize communities in tangible ways."
Rising Tide Capital's track record for training individuals includes nearly 600 graduates from its Community Business Academy. Since the first CBA in 2006, more than a third have been able to strengthen or grow a small business. "Seeing those entrepreneurs increase their median household income by more than 50 percent within just one year of graduating, we know our efforts are making a difference," said Alfa Demmellash, CEO and co-founder of Rising Tide Capital.
"It isn't enough to wait for the solution to come top down. All of the supporters behind The Start Something Challenge understand we really need something happening at the street level today. Right here, right now, entrepreneurship is the answer," said Hoffman.
About The Start Something Challenge
The Start Something Challenge consists of events teaching participants how to build their business ideas as well as produce a promotional video for their business venture. Entrepreneurs who submit a video and business description by September 15 will have a chance to pitch their ideas before a panel of acclaimed leaders in business, government and media.
Winners will be announced during Rising Tide Capital's first annual Start Something Challenge Champions Gala on Friday, December 14th.
Rules and details of the business pitch competition can be found at The Start Something Challenge website, http://www.theStartSomethingChallenge.org, or by contacting [email protected] - 201-432-4316 ext 110.
Anyone interested in supporting The Start Something Challenge as a sponsor or judge should email [email protected] or call 201-432-4316 ext 107. Current sponsors include Jeff Hoffman, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, PSEG, Citi Community Development, The Star-Ledger, The Provident Bank and Pitch Burner.
About Rising Tide Capital
Headquartered in Jersey City, 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 to catalyze social and economic empowerment. Learn more at http://www.RisingTideCapital.org.
201-432-4316 ext. 110
SOURCE Rising Tide Capital, Inc.