Cities across the nation are celebrating the critical contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners in America during Small Business Week (May 4-8) – specifically, the impact local business leaders continue to have on our economy–both locally and nationally). According to the U.S. SBA’s website, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.
Small businesses created nearly 2 million of the roughly 3 million private-sector jobs generated in 2014. Furthermore, more than 7 million of the 11 million jobs created during our recovery were produced by small businesses.
As part of National Small Business Week, Wells Fargo will work with the regional U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) partners, local non-profit organizations to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and renew its commitment to help our local business leaders thrive and succeed in their communities.
To that end, Wells Fargo also donated a $25,000 grant to Jersey City, New Jersey-based Rising Tide Capital to support its highly effective Community Business Academy for women and minority small business owners in northern New Jersey. The non-profit was co-founded in 2004 by Harvard graduate Alfa Demmellash, a native of Ethiopia.
Rising Tide Capital helps entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses by providing a 12-week Community Business Academy—supplemented by year-round workshops, coaching and networking events. Since its start, the organization has helped more than 1,000 business owners. In 2013 alone, the organization served over 600 entrepreneurs – resulting in the creation of 371 new jobs and assisting over 300 small businesses to expand or remain financially secure.
Taneice Chavers is a benefactor of the non-profit’s year-round coaching. In February she launched her Shear Bliss Salon and Spa in West Orange, New Jersey. Her salon specializes in empowering women that suffer hair loss due to debilitating illnesses such as cancer and lupus. “Through the CBA, I learned how important it is to differentiate myself from the competition. I learned how to find my niche, identify my target market and put together a business plan that guides me through the process of getting up and running,” says Chavers. “Getting so much support from RTC has encouraged me to keep going on days when I felt like giving up. This experience has inspired me and showed me that I am not alone in this.”
As of June 2014, 968 entrepreneurs have graduated from the CBA and together, they operate 459 businesses in New Jersey. What’s more, Rising Tide Capital’s model of entrepreneurship development has received national recognition from President Obama.
In addition to supporting local organizations, Wells Fargo recently launched the Business Plan Center which provides free business plan tools and competitive intelligence tool that can help entrepreneurs – whether they are starting, running, or growing their businesses – take their company to the next level. The creation of the Business Plan Center came as a result of a survey which revealed that only one in three business owners has a formal, written business plan.