UCEDC is currently accepting applications for its third round of Entrepreneurship as a Second Chance (ESC). ESC offers formerly incarcerated, or court-involved individuals the opportunity to explore re-entry into society through business ownership. In addition to intensive entrepreneurial training, two years of one-on-one mentoring, and business plan development, ESC provides participants with the necessary tools for success.
In the first two sessions, UCEDC had 22 returning citizens complete the program. Their businesses ranged from Lauren Bionco’s Phoenix Rising, which aims to help returning citizens like herself, to Ronald Kinston’s trucking company.
Director of Training Joe Lamberti says, “I’ve had the joy of being a part of the evolution of what Entrepreneurship as a Second Chance has become. Now that we’ve completed two rounds of this program, and are in the midst of counseling 22 people in the development of their businesses, it’s gratifying to look back on how we grew the training team and restructured our approach to prioritize the ESC in our overall Training & Technical Assistance offering.”
When asked about the Entrepreneurship as a Second Chance initiative and what it meant to him, graduate Ron Kinston said, “the program is definitely beneficial because it covers every aspect of running a business. I don’t care if you’ve been in business for ten years or you’re just starting; there’s something you can get out of the program.”
Program Manager Lenny Joseph adds, “I definitely have been able to see firsthand how this program has impacted the lives of returning citizens. The commitment level and effort put forth by each participant to accomplish a dream they have to own their own business and begin to write their future is second to none.”
Many thanks to Impact 100 Garden State who awarded UCEDC a $110,000 grant to help launch the ESC initiative and the NJ Reentry Corp whose invaluable partnership helped to inspire the ESC program and continues to be a trusted ally.
To hear Ron Kinston, owner of Kinston Trucking talk about his personal experience as a program participant, we encourage you to watch the video below. To learn more and apply now click here.