Rising Tide Capital Honors Entrepreneurial Leaders at Second Annual Start Something Champions Gala

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Ten New Jersey entrepreneurs, Start Something Challenge Winners and Finalists awarded close to $30,000 prizes and celebrated at Rising Tide Capital's Start Something Champions gala.

Left to Right: Nicole Silva, 2nd place winner of the Start Something Challenge; Elizabeth Migliore, 3rd place winner of the Start Something Challenge; Robert Weiss, New Jersey Market President, JPMorg

'We entrepreneurs are game changers...We are the dreamers and doers of the world, and this journey is ours to take...We need organizations like Rising Tide Capital to help us grow,' said Tiffany Perry, a Start Something Challenge finalist.

Last night, more than 300 entrepreneurs and community leaders gathered at the Mac Mahon Student Center at Saint Peter’s University to celebrate entrepreneurship at the Start Something Champions Gala hosted by nonprofit organization Rising Tide Capital (RTC). With panoramic views of the New York City skyline as the backdrop for the evening, Rising Tide Capital honored their 2013 Champions of Entrepreneurship including the three winners of the Start Something Challenge who were awarded cash prizes totaling $22,500 to grow their business ventures. Each of the other seven Start Something Challenge finalists, received an iPad for their accomplishment in the competition.

Coretta Owusu, who is based in Irvington, NJ took first prize, winning $10,000 for her business, aSuiteStay—an accommodation booking site that gives travelers access to different property types and services in Africa. In second place was West Orange native Nicole Silva, who won $7,500 for her business DollyMoo, a skincare company that offers hand-blended products. Jersey City resident Elizabeth Migliore took home the third place prize of $5,000 for her business Jersey City Veggie Burgers which creates wholesome, locally-sourced, hand-crafted veggie burgers.

JPMorgan Chase, a leading sponsor of The Start Something Challenge, received the Champion of Entrepreneurship award for the organization’s commitment to Rising Tide Capital’s mission of transforming lives and communities through entrepreneurship.

“I am honored to receive the 2013 Champions of Entrepreneurship award on behalf of JPMorgan Chase. Our partnership with Rising Tide Capital allows us to offer support, via knowledge or financial resources, to assist entrepreneurs in developing small businesses and growing vibrant communities,” said New Jersey Market President Robert Weiss. “It is great to work with an organization that demonstrates such passion and vision, and one that consistently delivers on that vision. It is a special gift for us to participate in their goal of providing entrepreneurs with the knowledge, guidance and capital they need to grow and succeed.”

Shazi Visram, CEO of Happy Family--who has been called a “Rock star of the New Economy” by President Barack Obama—was recognized as the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year for her leadership as a woman entrepreneur, and her dedication to mentoring young, aspiring entrepreneurs from underserved communities.

Darice Toon, director of the City of Jersey City Division of Community Development, received the RTC Founder’s Award for her long-standing support of Rising Tide Capital. Saint Peter’s University received the Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year Award to recognize their unique partnership with RTC that is expected to empower graduates of RTC’s Community Business Academy with access to further their education at the University. Each honoree was presented by a Rising Tide Entrepreneur and finalist of the Start Something Challenge--Kendra Beelen of KGB Fitness, Vance Lavington of Not Just Cookies and Charnelle Bain of Simply Elegant Events--who shared their personal testimonials and business successes.

“We entrepreneurs are game changers. We are brave, but we have fears. We are humble, but proud. We are relentless, but patient. We are strong, but vulnerable. We are the dreamers and doers of the world, and this journey is ours to take. It is our calling, but we need organizations like Rising Tide Capital to help us grow,” said Tiffany Perry, a Start Something Challenge finalist who received a $1,000 cash prize for winning the People’s Choice award.

The Start Something Champions Gala raised funds to support entrepreneurship development in underserved communities across New Jersey by providing scholarships for entrepreneurs to participate in Rising Tide Capital’s 12-week Community Business Academy (CBA).

About Start Something Challenge
The Start Something Challenge (SSC) is a statewide pitch competition and business strengthening opportunity for New Jersey entrepreneurs. The Challenge is funded by visionary supporters and organized by Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization that helps entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses. To ensure that every participant has a chance to win the top prize, Rising Tide Capital provides each entrant with hands-on coaching and mentoring. Free to enter, the competition is open to any New Jersey resident 18 years or older, who operates a microbusiness or has a strong business idea. In 2013, 107 entrepreneurs from 38 towns and cities representing 13 counties in New Jersey completed applications for the Start Something Challenge.
To learn more, visit http://www.StartSomethingChallenge.org today.

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.

Learn more at http://www.RisingTideCapital.org.

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Shanea Phillips
Rising Tide Capital
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