The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced a microloan competition, with the goal to expand entrepreneurial education opportunities and access to capital for formerly incarcerated persons.
The Aspire Challenge was created to broaden upon policy changes giving ex-offenders, often non-violent, the opportunity to create economic prosperity in their communities and for themselves.
According to the SBA, approximately 60% 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.
Winners of the challenge will be judged upon solutions created for expanding entrepreneurial education including recruitment, classroom instruction, mentoring, and community connections, and access to micro-lending and other capital funding opportunities.
The loans will be awarded to 16 selected organizations across the country in sums of $75,000.
The competition is open to all for-profit and non-profit entities and organizations.
The deadline to submit your application is February 12, 2017.