Ethiopian-Owned Non-Profit Helps Create Jobs by Training Small Business Owners


Reported by Stephen Kanyi

With celebrations of the Small Business Week ongoing in America, it is a time to recognize the immense contribution of small businesses in the country. The importance and the impact that small business leaders and their enterprises have on the country’s economy cannot be overemphasized.

According to data from the Small Business Association (SBA), small business directly employs more than half of the nation’s workforce. They are said to create two out of every three new jobs in the country. Therefore, of the three million jobs created by the private sector in 2014, small businesses provided about 2 million.

After the depression of 2008, small businesses played a big role in the nation’s recovery. With the nation in dire need of new jobs to employ the growing population of unemployed from big companies. Small businesses came to the rescue providing more than 7 million of the 11 million jobs created in the period of recovery. As of 2008, small businesses produced 46 percent of the non-farm GDP; and the percentage has been growing steadily with 2014 recording a contribution of over 50 percent.

In light of these amazing facts, Wells Fargo has vowed to work with regional U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) partners and local non-profit organizations, donating $25,000 to Jersey-based Rising Tidal Capital (RTC).

Rising Tidal Capital is an organization that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses by providing them with training and other various development tools to accomplish their goals. The non-profit organization was co-founded by Alfa Demmellash a Harvard graduate and a native of Ethiopia. Rising Tidal relies on the donations of government, corporations, foundations, and individual philanthropists who believe in the mission of the organization, which is to alleviate long-term poverty and economic revitalization.

Wells Fargo’s donation will thus go a long way in achieving these goals. The donation comes in addition to the space also provided for program events at local branches and nearly 100 volunteer hours from bank employees in 2014 alone. “RTC has been instrumental in creating hundreds of jobs in New Jersey communities and Wells Fargo supports this program because of the positive impact it is having on so many lives,” said Fred Bertoldo, Wells Fargo’s Northern New Jersey regional president.

Since the conception of RTC, it has helped more than 1,000 business owners. In the year 2013 alone, it helped 520 entrepreneurs, creating 154 new jobs and assisting 200 small businesses to expand or remain financially secure.

A benefactor of the program named Taneice Chavers successfully launched her business in February as a result of coaching and support from RTC. Her business, Shear Bliss Salon and Spa in West Orange, specializes in empowering women that suffer hair loss due to debilitating illnesses such as cancer and lupus.

Wells Fargo also launched the Business Plan Centre, which provides free business plan tools to help entrepreneurs whether they may be starting or already in the business.

Sources 1, 2, 3