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WIBO Expands Gutenstein Family Foundation Entrepreneurial Re-Entry Program for Formerly Incarcerated Nationwide

The Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) is proud to announce that with support from the Gutenstein Family Foundation, it is expanding the Gutenstein Family Foundation ReEntry program for formerly incarcerated individuals to participate in WIBO’s 10-week entrepreneur program “How to Build a Growing Profitable Business” nationally. The program has always been free to recently incarcerated men and women in New York and the other cities where WIBO has affiliate partners.  The Gutenstein grant will allow WIBO to offer the program across the country to recently incarcerated people for free. 

Since the workshops are entirely online at this time, like all of WIBO’s current offerings, the workshops are available to anyone, in any city.   By equipping them with the skills they need to channel their passions and talents into their own new businesses, WIBO levels the playing field for people recently released from prison, helping them create better lives for themselves and their families.   The first fall 2020 module begins the week of October 19th   To apply for the WIBO 10-week entrepreneur program go to https://wibo.works/wibo10.  

Recidivism rates for previously incarcerated persons are as high as 65% across the United States.  Among the hurdles that individuals face upon re-entering society, the most significant may be the fact that many employers are still uncomfortable in hiring people who have been in jail.   As financial stability is an essential step in building a new life, the importance of finding ways to clear this hurdle cannot be underestimated.  Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc everywhere, people who have just been released from prison face even bigger challenges.  

For over 50 years, the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) has offered its flagship program in “How to Build a Growing Profitable Business,” with more than 18,000 graduates. Since 2016, WIBO has offered the Gutenstein Re-Entry Program, named for the Gutenstein Family in honor of their commitment.  WIBO offers full scholarships to recently incarcerated people to attend.  

The re-entry program’s impact on graduates is clear:  DialloRafik Madison signed up for WIBO in 2010, and not only did he go on to found T&D Paralegal Services, but he also became a guest speaker at the workshops and was honored at the Recognize the Real Ceremony by Sheneese Starr and LyToya as well as a citation from Senator Bill Perkins and endorsement from Judge Greg Mathis for his outstanding achievements and community service.  Mr. Madison is currently going to school to complete his law degree.   

The re-entry program effectively reduces recidivism by creating successful entrepreneurs, who in turn hire other formerly incarcerated people for a profound ripple effect.  Entrepreneurs strengthen communities through economic empowerment, and business ownership is the number one way to create generational wealth that can be passed down to future generations.   In the future, WIBO plans to expand the workshops to be taught at halfway houses and at state prisons even prior to persons’ release.  

Launched in 1966 by the late Walter Geier (a sales and marketing training consultant for Fortune 500 companies) and Mal Woolfolk (a legendary Black lawyer and advisor to the Harlem political elite), WIBO was the nation’s first comprehensive entrepreneurship program – nuts-and-bolts training designed to help people from low-income and minority communities build growing, profitable businesses.  Since its founding, WIBO has graduated more than 18,000 entrepreneurs, 75 percent of whom launched their businesses within a year of completing the course. Further, 42 percent of businesses saw an increase in revenue after participating in WIBO. Some graduates have been running their businesses for more than 25 years, a testament to the WIBO’s long-term value.

For further information about WIBO programs or the organization, call 646-400-0566 or email admin@wibo.works.    


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