Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Baylor University Certificate in Entrepreneurship

William G. was among the first PEP graduates to earn his Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business

Graduates from the Prison Entrepreneurship Program can now earn their Certificates in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University‘s Hankamer School of Business through a new partnership between PEP and the university. See the official press release here.

“We offer a ‘mini MBA’ program within the Texas prison system that transforms inmates into entrepreneurs,” said Bert Smith, CEO of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). Through the program, the inmates also develop complete business plans for a real venture that they can pursue after release.

During PEP’s Business Plan Competition at the Cleveland Correctional Center north of Houston, these inmates will pitch their business plans over 120 times — including to groups of more than 50 “free world” executives, entrepreneurs and MBA students who attend PEP’s in-prison eventsLearn more in this recent article in The New York Times.

Founded in 2004, PEP is a privately-funded nonprofit that engages executives, entrepreneurs and MBA students as volunteers in a values-based entrepreneurship boot camp that is offered within the Texas prison system. Each year, more than 5,000 inmates apply to be a part of PEP – but only the top 5 percent are selected for this elite program.

“Our graduates invest over 1,000 hours of work into our six-month Business Plan Competition class, which incorporates a college-level curriculum supplemented by Harvard MBA cases, the AP Writing Stylebook, Toastmasters, an employment workshop and a financial literacy course,” Smith said. “In addition, we focus at least half of our time on character assessment and development, built around PEP’s Ten Driving Values.”

“What impresses me the most is how these men not only complete this very rigorous program within a prison, but they do so while completing a full business plan for a real venture that they can launch after release from prison,” said Dr. Gary Carini, associate dean of the Graduate Program in Management & Entrepreneurship at the Baylor University Hankamer School of Business, and a member of the governing board for PEP.

PEP participants pitch their plans before panels of executive judges in a “Shark Tank” format at PEP’s monthly events. The presentations prepare the men for making their case in the free world – including to potential employers once they are released.

“I had been arrested four times before my 21st birthday,” said Harvey M., who graduated from PEP’s Class 10. Harvey is now rolling his first food truck in Houston. “Most of the world had written me off – but not PEP. They gave me the tools that I needed to succeed and even helped me to open my own business.”

Thanks to the preparation that they receive while in PEP, 100 percent of PEP’s graduates find a job within 90 days of release from prison. More than 120 of them have started their own businesses, including at least two that are now grossing more than $1 million in annual sales. And most impressively, the organization boasts some of the lowest recidivism rates in the country: PEP’s three-year recidivism rate has been as low as <5 percent, compared to the national average of nearly 50 percent.

“After reviewing the caliber of PEP’s curriculum and the quality of their results, Baylor University has agreed to award a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the Hankamer School of Business to every graduate from PEP,” stated Carini.

The partnership began in December 2012, when 70 PEP graduates earned their certificates by completing the PEP Business Plan Competition class and graduating in a full cap-and-gown ceremony attended by their friends, family and PEP executive volunteers.

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. www.PEP.org

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

ABOUT HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit www.baylor.edu/business and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Baylor_Business.

PEP graduationMortar boards. Tassels. Pomp and Circumstance.

For many of us, these words signaled the end of one life and the beginning of another. We crossed the graduation stage to find doors of opportunity opening before us.

Imagine how hard it would have been to open those same doors without a diploma (let alone a college degree). Success would still have been possible, but it is no accident that many of the men whom we serve at PEP did not have a high school diploma before they entered prison.

The odds were not exactly in their favor.

And yet — all of that will change for them on December 7th: when Class 18 graduates from the Prison Entrepreneurship Program!

For many, this will be their first time wearing a cap and gown!

We would love for you to join us for our celebration. The event is from 2:00 until 5:00 p.m. at the Cleveland Correctional Center (just 45 minutes north of Houston).

Invite your friends — HELP US PACK THE GRADUATION HALL!

See you in prison,

Jeremy Gregg
Chief Development Officer

p.s. You can admit it … you’ve always wanted to setup an “out of office” email that says “I can’t reply. I’m in prison!” Well, now is your chance! Click here to join us.

A graduate of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), Gilberto spent a total of 14 years in prison. His last sentence was for eight years, during which he spent 5 and a half years living in segregation — completely isolated for 23 hours out of every day.

During this challenging time, his thoughts were not on himself. They were on his young son who was on the outside, wondering if his daddy would ever come home. He was still a baby when Gilberto was locked up for the second time, and Gilberto knew that he had to change in order to keep his son from following in his footsteps.

This is their story.

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.

Put some PEP in your step

Put some PEP in your step — join us in prison!

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is about to launch its 18th class this month! Check out our full schedule below, and RSVP at www.PEP.org/RSVP.

Class 18 Public Events

  • Kickoff . . . Friday, July 20 | 11:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Venture Capital Panel . . . Friday, August 17 | 11:30am – 5:00 pm
  • Concept Day . . . Saturday, August 18 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Excellence in Etiquette . . . Friday, September 21 | 11:30am – 5:00 pm
  • Selling with Purpose . . . Friday, October 19 |  11:30am – 5:00 pm
  • Business Plan Workshop . . . Saturday, October 20 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Pitch Day . . . Friday, November 16 | 11:30am – 5:00 pm
You can RSVP to any of these events at www.PEP.org/RSVP.

Class 18 Private Events (by invite only)
The following events are by invitation only; see your invite for RSVP information.

  • Class 18 Employment Workshop (Th, Nov 29 1:00pm-5:00pm)
  • Class 18 Business Plan Competition
    • Day One (Th, Dec 6 9:00a-5:00p)
    • Day Two (Fri, Dec 7 9:00a-2:00p)
  • Class 18 Graduation (Fri, Dec 7 2:00p-5:00p)

Ongoing Events

PEP also invites male volunteers (sorry, ladies!) to attend our Men’s Life programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 4:30 p.m.. Learn more here.

Uncle KevinDonors like you provide 100% of the funding that we need to run our program in the prison; we receive $0 from the government.

As an example, without including the significant costs of labor and other operational expenses, here is what we spend on each participant just to provide them with the basic program materials they need:
Entrepreneurship Textbook 82.50
Toastmasters Book 8.50
Financial Peace University Book 18.00
Men’s Life Book 3.50
Classroom Supplies 64.19
Event Supplies    118.31
TOTAL $295.00
This is $29,500 in books and supplies that we need to purchase for every 100 men in our program.

Will you sponsor at least one “Study Kit”
 with a gift of $295.00?
Or $82.50 to buy a new Entrepreneurship textbook?
Even a gift of $25.00 is enough to make an impact —
whatever you can afford, please make a gift today.

You can donate online at http://www.pep.org/action/donate.aspx.

Or, you donate by mail to:
Prison Entrepreneurship Program
Attn: Donation
P.O. Box 926274
Houston, TX 77292-6274

Thank you for your support!

Together, we are transforming inmates into successful entrepreneurs, stable citizens and loving fathers.

We are thrilled to introduce the new PEP blog, which will host all the most current information about PEP, our programs, participants, and proud moments.  We hope you’ll sign up for an RSS feed (in the top right corner of this page) or fill in your email at the bottom left of this page to be alerted when we post a new entry to this site.  As you know, one of our Ten Driving Values is Excellence, and we are committed to bringing you high-quality video, stories, and other content to make this blog a frequent destination choice for you.  We hope you’ll share this site with your friends and help us introduce new folks into the PEP Family!

Happy Reading!

Erin (aka “Bruiser”)

Communications Specialist, PEP Dallas