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March 26, 2015

Penn partnership aims to help ex-convicts become entrepreneurs

Enrollees will create business plans and present them to a panel in the hopes of obtaining funding

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The Rescue Mission of Trenton and the University of Pennsylvania are partners in an ex-offender entrepreneurship program.

A new program out of UPenn is aiming to help ex-convicts start their own businesses.

The 10-week program, a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and the Rescue Mission of Trenton, was developed by Charlotte Ren, a professor at Penn's School of Social Policy and Practice, according to

The program launched in February with nine enrollees. It uses an adapted undergraduate entrepreneurship curriculum developed by Ren to fit the needs of the Rescue Mission’s clients. 

Through it, the former convicts will develop business plans with student mentors at the university and will then present them to a panel at the university for financial assistance eligibility.

"Research shows a huge amount of similarities between inmates and successful entrepreneurs. They have risk taking propensity," Ren told "That is something you cannot teach in schools."

Read the full article here.