White Paper

Dedicated to Change.

Reentry Ventures Teamwork

Our Challenge

“Together we must challenge individuals, communities, cities, counties, regions, states, and the nation to be accountable for the outcomes of the justice systems at every level of government.” ~James Bell


The Benefits of Entrepreneurship Education for Returning Citizens

Reentry Ventures Family

Over 735 per 100,000 people are incarcerated each year in the U.S. Most who go to prison or jail will eventually be released to reenter society. Many of these people return to impoverished communities that are not equipped to provide the resources and services they and their families need to transition smoothly into society.


One of the most important needs for those reentering is securing a job,

but legal and practical barriers routinely prevent them from accessing

employment to earn a living wage and move out of or avoid poverty.

As the number of people going to prison has risen in our country, so has

the number of people leaving prison.  Facing insurmountable challenges,

the unfortunate likelihood is that many will end up back in prison.

Reentry Ventures Statistics 1

Over 65% are re-incarcerated within 3 years of release.

Aprox. 1.5M children have a parent currently in prison.

10M children had an incarcerated parent in their lifetime.


This cycle of incarceration inflicts enormous financial, social and emotional costs on victims, families and communities.   

Every dollar that must be spent on corrections is a dollar that is no longer available for education and social and health services!

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The good news is that many of us are beginning to realize our mistakes. Entrepreneurship has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional employment opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalized individuals all over the world, including those reentering society from prison or jail.

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Because entrepreneurial thinking is infused with the philosophy of empowerment, exposure to entrepreneurial training can also reshape the perspective of those reentering society in positive ways.

Entrepreneurship training can improve their performance as employees and help people proactively engage with their families and communities, whether they go on to become entrepreneurs or not.

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If people returning home from prison pursued entrepreneurship, it would undoubtedly make a significant impact! If just between 1-7% of people leaving state or federal prison next year started their own businesses (i.e., the percentage of welfare-to-work participants who start businesses in addition to or instead of securing traditional employment), 6,500 to 45,000 new businesses would be created in the U.S.

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Opportunity follows adversity!


Research shows that adversity plays a major role in spurring enterprise-building. Thus, the poor, the under-educated, minorities and immigrants are often at the forefront of entrepreneurial activity around the world.


Studies of the informal (i.e., licit but unregulated) economy found that small enterprises have a “strong and natural presence,” pointing to much higher entrepreneurial tendencies among those facing barriers to the traditional labor market.