Former Governor Rod Blagojevich to Give First Criminal Justice Speech at Inmates to Entrepreneurs Graduation

September 16, 2020Inmates to Entrepreneurs, a national nonprofit that teaches people with criminal records how to start and grow their own businesses, announced today that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will give a commencement address at the Inmates to Entrepreneurs national course graduation, which will be held virtually, via Zoom, on Tuesday, September 22 at 6 p.m. ET.

The course, which was open to individuals with criminal backgrounds who are interested in entrepreneurship, will have approximately 60 graduates, and is provided free of charge by the nonprofit.

“Inmates to Entrepreneurs is an invaluable program to help men and women develop the necessary skills to start and run a business,” said former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. “During my eight years in prison, I discovered how smart, resourceful and enterprising many of the men I served time with are – they just need some direction. Directing inmates to become entrepreneurs offers the best chance at a second chance. I believe the comeback is always stronger than the setback,” former Governor Blagojevich continued.

Inmates to Entrepreneurs was founded in 1992 by entrepreneur Brian Hamilton to reduce the rate of recidivism in the United States by providing a path to financial stability and success. 

“We are excited to have Governor Blagojevich with us for the event,’ said Inmates to Entrepreneurs Founder Brian Hamilton. In our organization, we are all about second chances, which is an ethos upon which America was formed,” Hamilton added.

“At Inmates to Entrepreneurs, we are here to serve people who were formerly incarcerated,” said Lawrence Carpenter, Chairman of Inmates to Entrepreneurs. “Governor Blagojevich’s experience as a public servant, including his time as governor, as well as his experience as a formerly incarcerated individual himself uniquely position him to share insights that could help greatly in bridging the gap between how ex-offenders are viewed and how they really are.”

In the past three years, Inmates to Entrepreneurs taught entrepreneurship to more than 4,500 individuals in correctional facilities and through its online courses. With a course graduation rate of 77 percent, graduates have started businesses that include landscaping, event planning, catering, cleaning services and more.

Members of the media are invited to attend the first half of the graduation to listen to speeches given by Governor Blagojevich, Inmates to Entrepreneurs Founder Brian Hamilton and several graduates. To attend the graduation on Tuesday, September 22 and 6 p.m. ET, join the event at

About Inmates to Entrepreneurs

Inmates to Entrepreneurs assists people with criminal backgrounds in starting their own businesses. Our goal is to reduce the rate of recidivism in the United States by providing an alternative path to financial stability and success. To learn more, visit

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