Raleigh, N.C. – Inmates to Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit that provides free entrepreneurship education and mentorship to people with criminal records, is celebrating its first class of Wilmington graduates on Tuesday, October 30, at 128 South in historic downtown Wilmington. 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 one-day entrepreneurship seminars are being offered across the country through a national tour that kicks off in New York City next month. The courses are open to anyone with a criminal record, not just those who have been incarcerated.
Brian Hamilton, founder of Inmates to Entrepreneurs said, “Our long-term vision is to create a volunteer program with national scope where people with a criminal background who have subsequently started businesses and who feel passionate about helping others in their shoes can offer mentoring. We believe that the second chance offered in owning a business is a powerful force against a return to old habits or mistakes.”
George Taylor, founder of Wilmington’s TRU Colors Brewing, will provide the commencement speech at the graduation. TRU Colors Brewing hires only gang members – Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, etc. – providing them with a reason to work together and get to know each other. Taylor’s goal was to decrease the area’s rate of gang violence. Since TRU Colors’ founding, the frequency of Wilmington’s gang-related violence has dropped from once a week to once every few months.
“Solving society’s seemingly intractable problems, like gang violence, is going to take innovative approaches,” explained Taylor. “One of these systemic problems is the difficulty people have finding jobs after they serve time in prison. Inmates to Entrepreneurs is an innovative and effective way to provide people with criminal records the skills and tools to start anew, to create their own futures.”
The graduation will take place on Tuesday, October 30 at 6pm at 128 South, located at 128 South Front Street in Wilmington.
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.