REDi receives $40,000 CICF Crime Prevention grant; program provides free intensive small business training, one-on-one coaching and access to capital for ex-offenders building a fresh start in the small business economy.
The Indy Chamber’s Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) has received a $40,000 grant from the Indianapolis Foundation Community Crime Prevention Fund for the third year of BOI’s Re-Entry Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (REDi), a program that provides business technical assistance in the form of a six-week workshop and one-on-one business coaching to currently- and formerly-incarcerated individuals. This year, REDi will host its first pitch night for ex-offenders in Central Indiana.
Since launching in October 2016, BOI provided more than 5,000 hours of training and coaching to more than 450 REDi participants. The program helped launch 7 businesses and provided 3 microloans. In 2017 REDi earned a second year of Prime Grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and was awarded first-time funding of $32,500 from the Indianapolis Foundation Crime Prevention Fund, an affiliate of CICF, for its promising start towards reducing recidivism and overall crime rates.
“We know that returning citizens face many barriers to employment,” noted Michael Huber, President and CEO of the Indy Chamber. “REDi provides another path – the skills to start a business or help an existing small business succeed, leading to better career opportunities and more inclusive economic growth for our community.”
This year, REDi engaged partners like the Indiana Department of Correction and Workforce Development, the City of Indianapolis, the John H Boner Community Center, PACE (Public Advocates in Community Re-Entry), among other community groups. BOI’s dedicated REDi staff facilitates a six-week intensive business course that consists of workshops like Entrepreneurship 101, Business Accounting, Financial Planning among others at the Indiana Women’s Prison, Plainfield Correctional, the John H. Boner Community Center and PACE. The team also provides individual business coaching.
“The Indianapolis Foundation is enthusiastic about investing in REDi for the second year, a program that aligns with our efforts to prevent crime in the community” said CICF President and CEO Brian Payne. “By providing business fundamentals and positive networks to ex-offenders re-entering our regional economy, REDi is already making a difference.”
Through the support of CICF, BOI is finishing the REDi program’s second year by hosting a public pitch competition for ex-offenders in Central Indiana. Entrepreneurs will compete to win $2,500 and a package of professional services. Five finalists will receive one hour of free business law advice and a meeting with a REDi business coach prior to the pitch competition. The event will be held at the John H. Boner Community Center on Monday, October 22nd from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Entrepreneurs have until September 29th to apply online at www.indychamber.com/redi-pitch.
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