Raleigh, N.C., Feb. 22, 2019 – Inmates to Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit that provides free entrepreneurship education and mentorship to people with criminal records, is graduating close to 50 students this week in Durham and Raleigh. The graduates have completed Inmates to Entrepreneurs’ free eight-week course covering modules on entrepreneurship essentials.
Inmates to Entrepreneurs, headquartered in Raleigh, was founded by Sageworks Co-Founder and entrepreneurship advocate Brian Hamilton in 1992. Since then, Brian and the program’s mentors have taught entrepreneurship to thousands of men and women in more than 50 correctional institutions. The organization’s eight-week course is offered in cities across North Carolina and its entrepreneurship seminars have been offered most recently in New York City and Atlanta. The courses are open to anyone with a criminal record, not just those who have been incarcerated.
“People with criminal records who want to start fresh and earn an income to support themselves and their families, often face discrimination in the job market,” Hamilton explained, “So, our idea is, let’s turn them into entrepreneurs and they can create their own jobs.”
Inmates to Entrepreneurs graduate Donald Brown from Greensboro, N.C., put in 94 job applications after being released from prison. Brown’s experience, according to Hamilton, is common, “The problem is that when they’re trying to get a decent job, their applications often get thrown into the garbage because of their backgrounds. We just want to level the playing field.”
Raleigh-based graduate Nickia Baker, now the owner of an event planning company, said she took the course after realizing she had to “figure out a way to create ‘yesses’ when everyone else was telling me ‘no’.” “I had to develop a system that would create a way out, and an open door for me and my family,” explained Baker. “I realized that if I’m ever going to get away from the system and be successful, I’ll have to create my own company and make my own destiny.”
In 2018, Inmates to Entrepreneurs 8-week course graduates in North Carolina started over 50 businesses, ranging from cleaning services to auto detailing to landscaping companies.
Nate Myers, Founder of the Malkuta Project, will be the keynote speaker at the Durham graduation on February 25 at the John O’Daniel Exchange in Durham at 7:30 p.m. The speaker at the Raleigh graduation on February 28 at 6 p.m., to be held at HQ Raleigh, is Jason Widen, Founding Partner of HQ Raleigh and the co-founder of Forward Impact.
Inmates to Entrepreneurs’ mentors are all current or former business owners. To volunteer to become a mentor or to find out more about Inmates to Entrepreneurs, visit inmatestoentrepreneurs.org.
About Inmates to Entrepreneurs
Inmates to Entrepreneurs assists people with criminal backgrounds in starting their own businesses by providing resources and mentorship. Our vision 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 inmatestoentrepreneurs.org.