It’s a second chance at life. That’s what a new ABC show is doing for people formerly in jail.
Brian Hamilton is the founder of Inmates to Entrepreneurs. He’s using his years of experience as an entrepreneur to help formerly incarcerated people find jobs and success.
This program is inspiring a new TV show on ABC called “Free Enterprise” that gives former inmates up to $500 to start their own business. A group of mentors then help to turn that business idea into a reality.
Hamilton says this show is a result of Inmates to Entrepreneurs. On the show, a group of entrepreneurs use their expertise to help mentor former inmates as they begin a new business.
“People get to see them as people, human beings with bones, muscles, and spirit. They get to see them as people. So, it’s a human journey, but it’s very practical on how they start their business and get a first customer.” Hamilton said.
Hamilton says giving these people a second chance at life is fundamental to American society.
“So, why do we do this? Because we got people getting out of prison who are being denied the second chance. It is absolutely happening systematically throughout the United States.” Hamilton said.
In Erie, GECAC’s Re-Entry program helps formerly incarcerated people find jobs and make connections within the community.
“Also, we assess skills of the client and seeing where they want to go and the things they need to ascertain employment.” said Jessie Tate, Case Manager at GECAC.
Tate is using his past as someone who served time in prison to connect to his clients to show them that they too can become productive members of society.
“But there’s hope, with them saying ‘Oh man, if he can do it with felonies, then I can do it.’ So yeah, there’s definitely a trust factor, especially when they know you. And also, even the ones that even know that you went through the same things as well.” Tate said.
You can watch “Free Enterprise” on ABC every Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. to watch someone’s business comes to life.
You can catch an interview with Hamilton on Good Morning America by clicking here.
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