DETROIT, Aug. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leaders of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and microlender Justine PETERSEN today announced the formation of the Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative, a groundbreaking new $2.1 million partnership to expand access to entrepreneurial education and microloans for formerly incarcerated individuals, with a specific focus on those who are parents. Initial rollout for the initiative is planned for Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Louisville, KY and St. Louis, MO.
"Entrepreneurship and small business ownership are proven paths toward wealth creation and financial independence especially for people who might otherwise feel trapped by their circumstances" said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. "America remains a land of opportunity, a place where we believe in second changes for those who have paid their debt to society. Entrepreneurship can be a ladder of opportunity for citizens who have paid that debt but are still struggling to find employment after incarceration. With the training and startup tools provided through this partnership, these American citizens can finally start to rebuild their lives and restore their relationships with their families and communities."
"At the Kellogg Foundation we know that children thrive when their families are economically secure," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "It is vital that parent returning citizens have the opportunity to create economic prosperity for their families. One path to that success is creating more opportunities for entrepreneurship by opening access to the capital and training needed for parents to become small business owners in their communities. By giving parents a second chance, we are also giving their children an opportunity to succeed."
"At the heart of the American dream is opportunity," stated Robert Boyle, Founder and CEO of Justine PETERSEN, "And the dynamic partnership of the SBA, W. K. Kellogg Foundation and Justine PETERSEN provides the necessary programmatic infrastructure for such opportunity to be afforded and ultimately realized. We at Justine PETERSEN are inspired and excited about bringing entrepreneurial opportunity to returning citizens and their families."
SBA will oversee strategic planning for the pilot initiative, work with its microlending partners to make capital available for program participants, and leverage its policy research expertise to craft a comprehensive evaluation design for assessing the pilot's effectiveness. Justine PETERSEN will deliver the intensive, cohort-based entrepreneurial education program and the Kellogg Foundation will fund the pilot initiative and provide matching revolving loan funds and evaluation support. The Kellogg Foundation will also partner with the SBA to produce a white paper summarizing the insights produced by the pilot initiative.
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. This cycle has major implications for American families as nearly half of all U.S. children have at least one parent with a criminal record. In 2015, SBA expanded its Microloan Program to small business owners currently on probation or parole. This partnership expands on that policy change to give parents the opportunity to generate income and create economic prosperity for their families.
ABOUT THE U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. www.sba.gov
ABOUT THE W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
ABOUT JUSTINE PETERSEN
Justine PETERSEN (jP) was created in 1997 to connect institutional resources with the needs of low-to-moderate income families and individuals in order to build assets and create enduring change. Furthering the legacy of St. Louis social worker Justine M. Petersen, jP partners with mainstream financial institutions, public entities and philanthropic organizations to impact the lives of families throughout the United States through credit building, home ownership and small business development. Learn more at www.justinepetersen.org.
Cosponsorship Authorization #16-6010-124. SBA's participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.