Lauren Usher will be the first to admit she wasn’t sure what would come out of her latest effort.
The gBETA social impact director teamed with the Institute in late August to invite people who lived in Milwaukee to a unique event with a simple promise: Bring your business ideas on how to prevent recidivism and over the next month, our two groups will support you however possible to turn a premise into a reality.
Five weeks later, she’s been overwhelmed by what’s happened since a hundred or so people came to the Sherman Phoenix building.
“It’s been honestly transformational,” she said. “The progress the companies have made has been phenomenal.
“They have had a ton of meetings and have been putting in a lot of work which, remember, this is outside of their day job, their family responsibilities and everything else.”
The four companies that formed and what they’re working on is highlighted below, but for Nyra Jordan, the Institute’s investment director looking at companies founded by and serving the formerly incarcerated, the showcase on Oct. 2 did not symbolize an end to either group’s commitment to this issue and to these entrepreneurs.
“We will absolutely be here to continue to support them and provide the resources they need for these businesses to be successful,” said Jordan. “It’s those communities, like this community, that are dealing with the issue of incarceration and the challenges facing re-entry every day that can come up with the solutions because they are living these problems. The fact we’ve given them voice and access to resources to take that idea to the next level is incredible social impact in my opinion. Incredible social impact.”
You can find more information about the companies and contacts for any possible investors or mentors beneath a video of the Social Impact Milwaukee Showcase.
Team Todd: Team Todd’s platform for the children of incarcerated parents redirects a generational pattern of incarceration by cultivating young entrepreneurs.
Contact: Dave Neubert: firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Star WrapAround: 5 Star WrapAround’s social network empowers formerly incarcerated people to share resources, skills, services and experiences.
Contact: Ben LeFort: email@example.com
The Way Out: The Way Out supports justice-involved job seekers by helping them to embrace their past and overcome the stigma often associated with a criminal conviction.
Contact: Eli Rivera: firstname.lastname@example.org
WeDevelop: WeDevelop equips incarcerated individuals with software development skills and provides business organizations with affordable entry-level software developers.
Contact: George Warner: George@georgedevelops.com