As a boy, Brandon Lowery was skipping school and hanging out with the wrong crowd. By the time Lowery was 19, he had been sentenced to 5+ years in prison. “It was the lowest point in my life. I knew I had hit rock bottom. I also knew that I needed to make a decision on which way I wanted to go to in life,” Lowery explained.
It was the wake up call Lowery needed to better himself – starting by making changes in prison. With help from a mentor, Lowery took advantage of free prison classes and eventually obtained his GED and 36 college credits. “When I got my GED, I felt I could accomplish things. I got confidence for the first time. I used to think I wasn’t worthy enough to have the things that others had, so I didn’t try.”
Upon his release in 2012, Lowery was doing millwork but wanted to start his own landscaping business. “I made flyers at the library and started passing them out. I put flyers out in the neighborhood and word of mouth spread,” Lowery commented. “I wanted to have more control in my life, and I wanted to work for myself.”
In 2013, after hearing about Inmates to Entrepreneurs, he came to an event. Inmates to Entrepreneurs, founded 28 years ago by entrepreneur Brian Hamilton, is a NC based non-profit that helps those with criminal backgrounds start, run, and grow businesses. Lowery became an instructor with the organization to give back. “I wanted to teach others that you can be successful after prison. I wanted to share my steps for success. I now have businesses making money and providing for my family the legal way. People just don’t know they can do it.”
“Once I saw that I could start one business, I wanted to start another one. I get an idea and then I do it.” In 2015, Lowery started a mobile detailing business and shortly after decided to make his own clothing. “I now make clothes for myself, my family and even my employees. I keep my money in-house as much as I can. I also like to do all the design work for my own business cards, logos, flyers, and websites myself.”
Lowery continues to inspire others to start businesses through Inmates to Entrepreneurs and is now on the board. “Find something that you are good at that you can charge for. Surround yourself with people you want to be like.”
Inmates to Entrepreneurs’ free course, Starter U, is available online and on Edovo tablets in prisons and jails throughout the country.
For more info. about Inmates to Entrepreneurs: www.inmatestoentrepreneurs.org firstname.lastname@example.org