Everything you need to know about the SSC

What is Earthrise, and how does it affect me?

2018 is the 50th anniversary of Earthrise is an iconic photo of the Earth taken during the first ever manned spaceflight. This image has come to symbolize interdependence, long-term thinking and profound collaboration, principles that we at Rising Tide Capital believe are necessary for the future of humanity and the security of our planet. We also believe that our entrepreneurs exemplify these principles in their collaboration with other businesses, the ways they invest in their communities, and in their leadership within their communities. This is why we are recognizing 50 entrepreneurs this year as part of our Earthrise celebrations, to spotlight entrepreneurs who exemplify these principles.

What is the criteria for entering The 2018 Start Something Challenge?

To participate in the 2018 Start Something Challenge you must:

  • Be a graduate of the Community Business Academy
  • Have an open business (you must have made at least one sale) or have a definitive business start date
  • Be very clear on the product or service you are selling
  • Have a clear understanding of your target market.
  • Have a business that makes a positive contribution to your community

When is the deadline for submission?

Noon on Friday, June 15, 2018.

What are the prizes?

$31,000 in Cash Prizes!

There is one $5,000 prize in each of the five sectors, totaling $25,000. The five sector winners will have the opportunity to pitch for an additional $5,000, totaling the $10,000 grand prize!

All prizes are presented, at the annual RISE Celebration when all SSC finalists are honored and we will also announce our Community Choice award winner, a $1,000 prize. Event details to follow.

How does it work?

  • Check to see if your qualify.
  • Fill out the application by June 15 at noon.
  • Wait to see if you have been accepted as one of the Earthrise 50.
  • If you are accepted into the competition, between June 25 and July 2, promote your business profile to accrue votes.
  • After one round of online voting, three contestants in each sector will be chosen to pitch their ideas live in front of a panel of experts.
  • If you have questions, please email us at SSC@RisingTideCapital.org.

What are some of the key dates in the 2018 Start Something Challenge?

  • 6/15| Deadline to Submit Application
  • 6/21 | Announcement of EarthRISE 50
  • 6/25 – 7/2 | Voting Round
  • 7/11 | Announcement of SSC Finalists
  • 7/17 | Pitch Tutorial
  • 7/24 | The Start Something Summit
  • 11/8 | RISE Event


Do I have to own a business?

Yes, though in previous years, this was not a requirement, this year we will only be accepting contestants who own open businesses (have completed at least one sale) or have a definitive start date (actively planning your launch).

Where can I learn more about starting or growing my business?

Rising Tide Capital offers a 12-week Community Business Academy in Essex and Hudson Counties, teaching entrepreneurs the nuts and bolts of starting a business. The class is tuition-free for anyone accepted through a competitive application process.

How is The SSC different than earlier years?

This year there are several  important changes to The Start Something Challenge:

  1. You MUST be a graduate of Rising Tide Capital’s Community Business Academy to qualify for the competition.
  2. When you apply, you are no longer required to select a sector. We will assign your entry to a sector if you are selected to compete as one of the Earthrise 50.
  3. Voting will only account for 50 percent of the score to move on in the competition. A panel of judges will help us select 15 entrepreneurs, three in each sector, to pitch in the Finale of the competition.  
  4. While the grand prize is $5,000, we are offering more opportunities for prizes than ever before. There will be a $5,000 prize for a winner in each of our five business sectors for a grand total of $25,000 in cash prizes

What are these business sectors?

For The 2018 Start Something Challenge: Earthrise Edition we are asking you to think about the value your business provides to the Community. If accepted into the competition, you will be assigned to one of 5 business sectors: 

  • Food
    Entrepreneurs that are delivering food services and experiences, creating innovative food products, or re-educating their communities on food through activism and tourism
    Community Kitchens, Food Products, Restaurants, Food Education 
  • Health
    Entrepreneurs striving to optimize physical and mental wellness by creating affordable and effective methods for prevention, diagnosis and therapy for individuals and communities
    Fitness, Holistic Living, Medical Support
  • Sustainability
    Entrepreneurs working to sustain human life on the planet with businesses that create safe, clean, green solutions that optimize the Earth’s ecosystems
    Energy solutions, Environmental education or activism, Water
  • Community
    Entrepreneurs creating structures and access to information and experiences that connect people-whether in virtual or physical communities
    Construction, Real Estate, Learning, Security, Technology
  • Expression
    Entrepreneurs generating outlets for creativitiy within their communities, inspiring other humans to give meaning and value to each other’s lives.
    Fashion, Beauty, Art, Entertainment

How much does it cost to enter?

Entry is FREE


Why enter?

Aside from the obvious $5,000 prize–business pitch competitions are one way to cultivate new relationships, learn new skills and generate cash – three important components to help start or grow your business. By competing in the Start Something Challenge, your business idea will receive valuable feedback from expert judges, significant web exposure, as well as up to $5,000 to grow your business.

What do I do after I submit my application?

Wait to hear if you have been accepted as an Earthrise 50! Getting your clients ready to support you in the weeks prior to the voting period could really help you in the second round!

Can I purchase Social Media Ads to help me in the competition?

No. Your promotions must be completely organic. Any participants found to be cheating will immediately be disqualified from the competition.

Do I need to be a graduate of Rising Tide Capital?

Yes. The 2018 Start Something Challenge is open only to graduates of The Community Business Academy.

What are the competition rules?

You can find the official rules here.


Contact us at SSC@RisingTideCapital.org or 201-432-4316 Ext 106