Press Release
April 16, 2012
3 minute read


JERSEY CITY — Michael Caslin, a leader in the world of entrepreneurship and social enterprise, recently joined a NJ nonprofit organization as the Managing Director of Strategy and Development. In his new role at Rising Tide Capital, he will lead a replication strategy to reach the nation’s most underserved communities with affordable entrepreneurial training. 

With the support of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Jersey City-based organization has helped start and grow over 200 small businesses across New Jersey through its 11-week Community Business Academy (CBA) and year around programming. Last year, RTC expanded its services outside of Hudson County for the first time by launching a pilot CBA in Orange, New Jersey. With the support of Caslin, the organization will develop a strategy to replicate these services in other communities of need.

Over 20 years as the CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Caslin advocated for entrepreneurial training for high school students, particularly those from low-income communities around the globe. He led a team which raised $140 million for the organization, transforming what started as a series of afterschool classes in the Bronx, NY and Newark, NJ into an international brand reaching 1 million students across 31 states and 14 countries.  

With this experience and understanding of RTC’s mission, he will lead the ‘Smart Growth- Go Forward’ replication strategy to bring entrepreneurial training to more adults in underserved communities across NJ and eventually, around the nation. 

“In surrounding communities and across the nation, there is an immense need for the high quality entrepreneurial training and support that RTC provides. Mike’s experience and commitment to the empowerment of entrepreneurs will be critical as we move forward with our replication strategy,” said CEO and co-founder Alfa Demmellash.  

Caslin learned about Rising Tide Capital through RTC’s co-founder Alex Forrester in 2005 when the two met at NFTE University, which Caslin helped founded in 1994 in partnership with Babson College. The two crossed paths occasionally but it wasn’t until January 2011, that the two discussed the potential for a deeper collaboration. While volunteering in New York City for Defy Ventures, a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurial training for paroled felons, the two discussed how Caslin might play a role in RTC’s growth strategy. A month later, Caslin began working with Rising Tide Capital. 

“Our needs and interests just aligned. From my meetings with Alex, I knew that Rising Tide Capital offered a unique solution to the challenges facing our nation’s economy, so when I was offered an opportunity to help the organization grow, I took the challenge,” said Caslin, who retired from NFTE in 2008 to focus on his own business, URGENT VC, LLC and teaching Entrepreneurship and Sustainability at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York City.  

“Mike has exactly the kind of world class talent that Rising Tide Capital needs to push our mission forward. From the time RTC was founded, we have followed NFTE’s growth as a model. It is so exciting to now have Mike as part of the team,” said Chief Operations Officer and co-founder Alex Forrester,” “Now we have perspective from someone who has sailed the waters we want to navigate.” 

About Rising Tide Capital:
Rising Tide Capital is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, and dedicated to the economic empowerment of underserved communities through entrepreneurship. Co-founded by Harvard graduates Alfa Demmellash and Alex Forrester, we believe that by empowering entrepreneurs to build strong businesses that can transform their lives and strengthen their families, there will be a ripple effect that will, in turn, create thriving, sustainable neighborhoods. 

Rising Tide’s services include:

  • Affordable classes that teach how to plan, start and run a business;
  • Professional coaching and networking support; and,
  • Access to financial planning assistance and loans through partners.  

Some of the national recognition that Rising Tide Capital has achieved include selection as a CNN Hero in 2009, recognition for innovation by President Barack Obama in a 2009 speech at the White House, and an invitation to address the United Nations in 2008. 

For more information about Rising Tide Capital visit