Alfa Melesse Demmellash came to the United States from Ethiopia at the age of twelve with a keen interest in poverty alleviation and conflict resolution. She graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2003, where she majored in Government. During her time at Harvard, her interest in conflict resolution brought her to Rwanda. Recognizing the role economic poverty played in fueling conflicts, Alfa turned her focus to economic empowerment as a strategy to achieve peaceful societies. Demmellash co-founded Rising Tide Capital (RTC) in 2004 to empower underserved urban entrepreneurs in northern New Jersey to start and grow successful businesses. RTC’s signature program is the nationally recognized Community Business Academy – an intensive business-training program coupled with year-round consulting and management support, which equips entrepreneurs to better operate their small businesses. On average, a new Rising Tide business opens every seven days. Demmellash is actively building a community of funders to support RTC’s national replication through a network of licensed partners, enabling many cities seeking to invest in the existing entrepreneurial energy of their communities to get a head start. Demmellash was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015. She was recognized as one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women Changing the World with Philanthropy in August 2012, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from St. Peter’s University and New Jersey City University. In 2009, she was selected and profiled as a CNN Hero, and recognized by President Barack Obama during a speech at the White House. Major media features include the Suze Orman Show, The Larry King Show, O, The Oprah Magazine, Inc.com, BusinessWeek.com, The Star-Ledger and Entrepreneur.com, as well as Essence Magazine’s 40th anniversary edition where she was recognized as a “40 under 40 Dream Maker.” Demmellash currently serves on the boards of St. Peter’s University and Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship, education, conflict resolution and the environment.
Rising Tide Capital
June 13, 2016NYU Kimmel CenterNew York City