SBA's Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative: Connecting Previously Incarcerated Citizens to Training & Microloans
(Re-published with information from release by SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings)
“The U.S. Small Business Administration is continuously exploring new ways to make small business ownership more accessible to all citizens. The Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative is the most recent way [the SBA is] working to connect underserved populations with entrepreneurial resources and services.”
The Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative “expands access to entrepreneurial education and microloans to formerly incarcerated individuals, with a specific focus on those who are parents.
The initiative aims to increase the financial capability of the previously incarcerated and facilitate income generating opportunities. In addition to entrepreneurial education, microloans of up to $50,000 will be available to participants who demonstrate the capacity to start and run a business.
An estimated 60 percent of formerly incarcerated individuals remain unemployed one year after their release, raising the risk of recidivism and resulting in lost lifetime earnings. Further, nearly 1 in 28 U.S. children have a parent who is currently incarcerated and nearly half of all U.S. children have at least one parent with a criminal record. This initiative is designed to leverage existing resources and build an infrastructure to improve the lives of the formerly incarcerated and their children.
The Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative loan terms will be the same as those of the SBA Microloan Program, which was recently adjusted to allow eligibility to individuals on parole or probation. This change was made to aid individuals who face significant barriers to traditional employment; and, is included in our ongoing conversations and work with local microlenders.”
The SBA believes “embracing an inclusive vision of entrepreneurship – one that draws upon entrepreneurs from all communities, from all demographics, and from all backgrounds – will continue to grow our economy and create good-paying jobs.”
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