Volunteers Provide Valuable Service to Rising Tide Entrepreneurs
Every year, dozens of volunteers give their time and talents to help lead workshops, coach entrepreneurs and assist with the Community Business Academy. While each volunteer is instrumental to Rising Tide Capital’s mission, there are some who continually return to share their skills.
One such volunteer is Allen Jordan. After completing two master’s degrees and working in the corporate sector for more than two decades as a marketing technology expert, Jordan achieved his dream of starting his own business. This year he made a decision to give back by helping other entrepreneurs achieve their own dreams as a volunteer with Rising Tide Capital.
“Volunteering with Rising Tide Capital has been very fulfilling because as an entrepreneur myself, I can relate to the struggles that Rising Tide Entrepreneurs go through,” said Jordan who founded The FARPoint Alliance in 2008.
Jordan became interested in RTC after learning about the Community Business Academy (CBA), Rising Tide Capital’s hands-on, 11-week course that teaches the nuts and bolts of starting and running a business. As a businessman, he saw that the course was a practical way for entrepreneurs to learn what they needed to transform a skill into a business. As a Newark native, he also saw the potential for organizations like Rising Tide Capital to build stronger communities.
“When I learned what Rising Tide Capital was doing, particularly for urban communities, I was immediately interested,” said Jordan, “Growing up in the inner city, you might not necessarily have a parent that was in business or a relative to help you get started, so having a strong foundational class like the CBA is that much more important.”
Since then, Jordan has served as an instructor’s aide for the Saturday class of the Spring CBA. He attended each business simulation, an activity that is designed to challenge entrepreneurs to think about how they would finance and market their businesses in real-life situations.
“Entrepreneurs may be skilled in a particular trade, but they aren’t always aware of all that it takes to run a profitable business. The simulation game gets people to start thinking about aspects of business they might not have thought of before. You can see when we’re playing that it’s sometimes a real shock to [the students],” said Jordan.
Jordan has also used his expertise in internet marketing to coach entrepreneurs during the Marketing Master Class, one of many Business Acceleration Services that RTC provides year around. He also contributed an article on Online Marketing for the Rising Tide Exchange business blog.
“Volunteers like Allen Jordan who repeatedly come back to support are programs are incredibly valuable to Rising Tide Entrepreneurs. They not only provide assistance, but also build lasting relationships. In return, they get to see meaningful progress,” said Ian Tyson, the volunteer coordinator for Rising Tide Capital.
In 2012, over 20 people with backgrounds spanning finance, marketing and media have volunteered to help make Rising Tide Capital events possible. These volunteers include Louisa Wandabwa, a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers who serves as an instructor’s aide and member of RTC’s Strategic Advisory Board. Volunteers for RTC not only range in expertise but also in age. This year, Brenda Choi, 17, from High Tech High School began volunteering with the Tuesday night class of the CBA.
“I have always been a person who enjoys aiding my community in one way or another,” said Choi, “I thought interning [with Rising Tide Capital] would give me work experience and educate me more about business,” said Choi, who hopes to one day open her own business.
According to Tyson, there are many ways for volunteers to get involved year-around. “We’re always looking for people to help out with the CBA business simulations, but there are also opportunities to mentor entrepreneurs, lead workshops or write a blog article with useful tips,” said Tyson.
Read more about RTC volunteers:
- Rob Jelinski: Coaching dreams
- Two AmeriCorps Volunteers Join Rising Tide Capital Staff
- Three AmeriCOrps Volunteers Join Rising Tide Capital
- Perspective from a Plan and Pitch Corporate Volunteer