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The following excerpt is from the keynote speech that Mr. Welcome W. Wilson, Sr. delivered on September 24, 2013 at the Prison Entrepreneurship Program‘s 2013 eSchool Graduation presented by Amerisource Funding.


This is your graduation, so I am going to give some advice to you new entrepreneurs:

Number 1. If the term had been invented in the 1940’s, I would’ve been known as a schmoozer. So my first word of advice to this graduating class is to learn how to schmooze people that can help you. Sometimes this can be hard work, but let me promise you it is worth the time and effort.

Number 2; As an entrepreneur, don’t ever go against your instincts, if an expert gives you advice, don’t act on it unless you agree with it. When I say experts I mean; lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers. These were the experts that I relied on in my early days and for the first few years I would always follow their advice religiously. Even if I felt they were wrong in my gut. That is a mistake. Never go against your gut feeling.

Number 3: After you have a modest amount of success, you will begin to feel that you are invincible. It happened to me. When Lyndon Johnson was president the economy was booming, every business was succeeding. I gave all the credit to myself. I thought I was smart enough, fast enough, to get out of any situation. I was wrong. There are certain things of which you have no control of, particularly the economy. So don’t think you are invincible because you are not.

Number 4: If you have a setback or a failure, large or small, don’t suck your thumb about it. Analyze the failure, develop your next plan, and forget about the failure.

Number 5: Never burn a bridge, and never lose your temper. Lyndon Johnson used to tell me that, “You can tell a man to go to hell, but you can’t make him go.” The person who hates you today is likely to be your good friend and supporter five years from now.

Number 6: Be persistent. Don’t give up, have faith and persevere. After World War II Winston Churchill addressed the military academy at WestPoint. He was given an elaborate introduction that last two minutes and he walked to the podium and after a pause he said, “Never give up, never give up. Never, never give up”. And he walked back to his seat and sat down.

Number 7: Never argue with a stranger. Save your arguments for people you love. The idea of getting emotionally upset with someone you have never met before in your life and will unlikely ever see again makes no sense. Just smile and walk away.

Number 8: Remember people’s names. When you meet someone, tell yourself that, in the next minutes, you’re going to have to stand up in front of 50 people and introduce them. Anybody can remember names If they take the trouble to do so. A trick I use is when I meet Sam, I will start the next 5 sentences with his name. Sam, XYZ, Sam, PDQ. Remember the most beautiful sound in the world is a person’s own name.

Number 9: Don’t under-dress. Dress like you are an important person. When I was a student at the University of Houston I learned that by wearing a neck tie with a dress shirt, everyone on campus assumed that I was an employee of the university. I could go to the head of the line in the cafeteria, I could go behind the counter in the book store. If you wore a tie on campus, they assumed you were somebody important.

See our official press release here.

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Legendary Entrepreneur Welcome W. Wilson to Keynote PEP's 2013 eSchool Graduation

Legendary Entrepreneur Welcome W. Wilson to Keynote PEP’s 2013 eSchool Graduation

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), a business boot-camp that teaches qualified Texas prisoners real-world business skills, announces that Welcome W. Wilson, chairman of GSL Welcome Group LLC, will deliver the keynote address at the organization’s 2013 eSchool Graduation Dinner on September 24, 2013, presented by Amerisource Funding.

“Mr. Wilson is a living legend in the Texas business community,” says Jason Floyd, Managing Director of Amerisource Funding. “We are honored he will join us to celebrate the accomplishments of PEP’s graduates and to inspire them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.”

Mr. Wilson is the former Chairman of the Board of Regents for the University of Houston. In 2011, he was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame and he was named the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Houston Technology Center. A veteran who served in the Korean War, Mr. Wilson also served in the Executive Office of the President under Dwight D. Eisenhower andJohn F. Kennedy during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

After his presentation, diplomas will be presented to over 40 graduates of PEP. These men are former inmates who began transforming their lives while still behind bars through PEP’s in-prison business plan competition.

“After their release, these men reestablished their lives in the free world and dedicated themselves to continuing their education through our Entrepreneurship School that meets every Tuesday evening in Dallas and Houston,” explains Bert Smith, CEO of PEP. “We are now celebrating their completion of this second step in their journey from inmate to entrepreneur.”

The event will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at the Petroleum Club at 800 Bell St, Houston, TX 77002.

About the Prison Entrepreneurship Program:

Established in 2004, PEP is a Houston-based nonprofit that transforms inmates and executives by unlocking human potential through entrepreneurial passion, education and mentoring. PEP’s graduates have a 100% employment rate and have launched over 125 businesses. www.PEP.org

About Amerisource Funding:
Founded in 1984 and based in Houston,  Amerisource is one of the largest and fastest-growing independent commercial finance companies in the country.  Amerisource provides working capital financing and outsourced receivables management to companies with financing needs from $50,000 to $10,000,000.  www.AmerisourceFunding.com

CONTACT:
Jeremy Gregg, Chief Development Officer, PEP
214.727.9829, JGregg@PEP.org

amerisource fundingIt is official!

Thanks to the lead sponsorship from Amerisource Funding, our 2012 eSchool Graduation is officially sold out!

At this graduation, we will honor over 30 men who began transforming their lives while still behind bars through PEP‘s in-prison Business Plan Competition. After their release, these men reestablished their lives in the free world and dedicated themselves to continuing their education through our weekly Entrepreneurship School (eSchool) in Dallas and Houston. We are now celebrating their completion of this second step in their journey from inmate to entrepreneur.

We are pleased to announce that our keynote speaker will be Ryan Mack, author of “Living in the Village” and frequent contributor to CNN, BET and others. You can learn more about Ryan Mack here.

Thank you to our event sponsors!

Lead Investor
Amerisource Funding

Venture Capitalists
The Energists
Stellus Capital Management
Judy & Jon Goodale

Angel Investors
RKI*
Accenture
Alex Anaxagoras and Genie Erneta
DFS Worldwide
Marcia & Bill Frank
JITA Printing
Silver Fox Advisors
Pam & Phil Rundle
* Purchased two tables

ryan mack

Learn more about the event at http://pep.org/eschool/

Prison Entrepreneurship Program Announces National Financial Expert
Ryan Mack to Deliver Keynote Address at Graduation Ceremony
The author of “Living in the Village” will speak to a crowd of executives,
entrepreneurs and former inmates this October

Houston, August 20, 2012 — Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), a business boot-camp that teaches qualified Texas prisoners real-world business skills, announces that national financial expert Ryan Mack, author of Living in the Village and President of Optimum Capital Management, will deliver the keynote address at the organization’s 2012 eSchool Graduation Dinner, presented by Amerisource Funding.

“Mr. Mack brings a message that strongly complements PEP’s mission to transform tax consumers into contributing members of society,” says Jason Floyd, Managing Director of Amerisource Funding. “We are honored to bring him to Houston to help us celebrate the accomplishments of PEP’s graduates.”

Mr. Mack can be regularly viewed on television networks such as CNN, CNBC and BET discussing economic issues that impact American citizens. After his presentation, diplomas will be presented to over 30 graduates of PEP. These men are former inmates who began transforming their lives while still behind bars through participation in PEP’s financial literacy training, character development programs and business plan competition.

“After their release, these men reestablished their lives in the free world and dedicated themselves to continuing their education through our eSchool (Entrepreneurship School) program that meets every Tuesday evening in Dallas and Houston,” explains Bert Smith, CEO of PEP. “We are now celebrating their completion of this second step in their journey from inmate to entrepreneur.”

The event will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at Houston’s Downtown Club at Plaza.

ABOUT PRISON ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM:

Established in 2004, Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is a Houston-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are servant leaders on a mission to transform inmates and executives by unlocking human potential through entrepreneurial passion, education, and mentoring. Our groundbreaking results include a return-to-prison rate of less than 5%, employment rate of 100% within 90 days, and the successful launch of more than 100 businesses. For more information, visit www.PEP.org.

About Amerisource Funding:
Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Amerisource is one of the largest and fastest-growing independent commercial finance companies in the country.  Amerisource provides working capital financing and outsourced receivables management to small and middle market companies with financing needs from $50,000 to $10,000,000.  Core products include asset-based lending revolvers, accounts receivable factoring, seasonal bank “over-lines”, outsourced A/R, credit and collections management, debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing, trade finance for importers, and export factoring. Amerisource also provides portfolio management and servicing for banks through its private label program America’s Back-Office for LendersTM, portfolio acquisitions and liquidations.  For more information, visit www.amerisourcefunding.com.