NJCU Gets $600K HUD Grant to Launch Economic Development Initiative with Rising Tide Capital

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The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced this week that New Jersey City University (NJCU) will receive $599,916 in the form of a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities (HSIAC) grant. The NJCU grant is part of $6.5 million being given to 11 institutions across the country.

NJCU says it will use the funding to support the E2 (Enterprise and Economic) Development Initiative, a partnership between the school’s Business Development Incubator and Jersey City-based nonprofit Rising Tide Capital. The program’s aim is to spur economic development activities in the city, particularly among low- and moderate income entrepreneurs.

“This HUD award is a catalyst that will enable a creative public/private partnership to bring about tangible benefits to our community through economic development and homegrown enterprise initiatives,” NJCU president Dr. Carlos Hernandez says in a statement. “[We] are delighted to partner with the visionary co-founders of Rising Tide Capital, Alfa Demmellesh and Alex Forrester.”

E2 will use customized assessment, intensive training and education, incubation, mentoring/coaching, and low-interest loans in order to achieve its aim of establishing, sustaining and expanding 120 local micro-enterprises, creating higher-than-minimum-wage jobs and revitalizing depressed neighborhoods in Jersey City. Twelve NJCU students will be placed as interns with the small businesses over the course of three years.

The project’s grant funding begins on October 1, and its day-to-day operations will be led by Gina Boesch, director of the Business Development Incubator.

“These grants help to address the revitalization and economic development needs in the communities that surround our Hispanic-Serving Institutions,” HUD secretary Shaun Donovan says in a statement. “Not only are we investing in communities but, we are helping to facilitate long term partnerships that will assist in addressing some of the most critical social and economic issues that this country is facing.”

Jon Whiten

co-founder of the Jersey City Independent; he now works for a public-policy nonprofit in Trenton.

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