The most exciting thing about this program are the successes and transformations we see. We do two things. We help felons find meaningful employment and at the same time teach them entrepreneurship. We meet for 12 weeks and have a shark tank style pitch competition in front of real investors. The winner gets a cash prize and $10k worth of services for their business. Our hustlers also have the opportunity to sell cornbread to make residual income. For every restaurant that signs up, they get $75 and they get $12.50 for each case sold for the life of the contract. While there are many staffing agencies, there are none geared specifically for felons. Our curriculum was created w/ knowledge of the issues that many felons face. We’ve created partnerships with entities who can help this population. The main road blocks we face in Michigan are getting the word out and a digital divide, meaning many of those we serve are not computer or mobile savvy. We are getting around that w/ networking.
We believe our communities will benefit most because the goal is reducing recidivism. When felons are able to find employment and sustain themselves, there is no reason to return to a life of crime. The class allows them to expand the vision of themselves, into a productive citizen, which impacts their families and to a greater extent, our communities. If we are able to teach our curriculum to felons inside prison or right when they get out, we can have a major impact on reducing recidivism.
What I Will Do With $5,000
We have just started a class in Pontiac, Michigan. We would use the $5,000 to start a second class in Detroit. We provide workbooks, discount prescription cards (via a partnership with another social enterprise called RefillWise) and food every Thursday for our class. We also need a venue for class and for our graduation/pitch competition.