By Maria Valdez Haubrich
I’m always inspired when I hear about people helping others get started in entrepreneurship—especially when the people they’re helping have lots of strikes against them.
That’s why I loved this story about Alfa Demmellash in Inc. Magazine.
The Ethiopian-born Demmellash graduated from Harvard in 2003. Her mother, an entrepreneur, had used earnings from her sewing business to bring Alfa to the U.S.
Growing up, Demmellash knew she wanted to make a difference in the world so she decided to become a social entrepreneur. She launched Rising Tide Capital (RTC), a nonprofit organization that helps train entrepreneurs in low-income communities.
Demmellash says she was motivated by “trying to figure out what our generation’s role is and actually making positive change in the world.” RTC’s clients have included women, minorities, immigrants, unemployed people and former prisoners who might normally not have the chance to start a business. So far, 250 people have graduated from the organization’s 10-week course, which it offers several times a year.
“I think small businesses are the anchors of a stable community,” Demmellash says. “When it comes to inspiring young people, most are inspired by watching their parents or people that they trust who’ve taken the entrepreneurial leap.” She notes that her mother’s being an entrepreneur played a key role in inspiring the launch of RTC.
Demmellash’s husband and business partner notes, “Capitalism is like fire: You can use it to do a lot of good or you can use it to do a lot of [bad].” It’s heartening to see these entrepreneurs using it for good.
You can learn more about RTC at its Web site.