Seeing the opportunity in challenge

Library | 1/5/2021
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When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, most of the world quickly went virtual. But, for members of Rising Tide Capital’s community in Jersey City, NJ, it wasn’t that easy. Without access to the right technology, some members lost valuable resources that allowed them to build their business. Rising Tide Capital not only had to figure out how to get the right information and resources to their community but also the technology.


Rising Tide Capital’s business acceleration tools have been a great resource for entrepreneurs, providing them an environment where they can access one-on-one coaching and various business resources. At the beginning of the year, the organization was ramping up for a 12-week business program. More than 270 English and Spanish-speaking individuals were signed up and ready to learn, but as the pandemic continued to spread, they had to shut it down for everyone’s safety. Rising Tide Capital quickly had to figure out how to continue to provide an engaging and supportive experience when they couldn’t host their entrepreneurs in person.


The organization shifted to incorporate digital engagement into their practice but not all members had access to the technology. Support from partners like Valley Bank have allowed them to get technology in front of their entrepreneurs as they’ve continued to make the transition to virtual support. As more members of their community gain access to and adopt the technology, they’ve seen an increase in engagement. “We’ve seen bonds form between entrepreneurs in a completely different way through virtual breakout rooms,” says Gillian Sarjeant-Allen, Executive Director.


In 2020-2021, Rising Tide Capital is conducting a major campaign to connect with entrepreneurs and small business owners across the state of New Jersey. They plan to increase their access to critical support services to navigate the crisis and prepare for the recovery. The organization hopes to operate with a blended business model that incorporates in-person and online training and workshops.


With Valley Bank’s help, they will leverage their infrastructure and expertise for immediate crisis work focused on helping low-income women and minority entrepreneurs access relief and business continuity financing, reconfigure business models and think through new forms of opportunities. They’re also planning to pivot their team, program design, content and delivery platforms to prepare for the major role entrepreneurship will play in the recovery of the community by building online classes and/or cohort-based models of coaching, business development and management support.


“We’re so grateful for Valley’s donation,” says Gillian Sarjeant-Allen, Executive Director. “It will contribute to the significant personnel efforts needed to accomplish this digital transformation while maintaining optimal service capacity.”


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