Meet the second chance entrepreneurs in our 2021 Rise up, Get Started Matching Grant cohort

It is an honor to introduce you to the inaugural cohort of the Rise Up, Get Started Matching Grant Program. These 16 second chance entrepreneurs were chosen from 50 applicants because they articulated a clear path to profitability and potentially job creation through their businesses.

Narrowing down the field was not an easy decision for the Determination, Incorporated team. After considering a multitude of factors, we feel we have selected the group of formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs that we can best help to strengthen and grow their businesses in 2021. Here they are:

Pictured above left to right, top to bottom:  

We look forward to working with each of these second chance entrepreneurs, and to introducing them to you in more depth in the coming months. Click here to learn more about the specifics of the program

Each of the cohort members agreed to our accountability statement when they accepted their position. Here it is to give you a peek at what our community has set out to achieve in 2021:  

As a member of the Rise Up, Get Started Matching Grant program, I make a commitment to myself, those who count on me, and the Determination, Incorporated second chance entrepreneur community to make a good faith effort to stay connected, active, teachable, helpful, honest, and hard working during the program. (Now thru July 2021)

  • Connected: I will prioritize regular and open communication with the Determination, Incorporated (DNI) team, and will do my best to engage with the second chance entrepreneur community through the Facebook group and other avenues. 
  • Active: I will make every effort to attend the biweekly virtual Be the Boss business support groups on Zoom and will communicate with the DNI team whenever I am unable to attend. I understand that in order for my business to succeed, I must dedicate my time and take constant steps toward that goal.
  • Teachable: Entrepreneurship is a learning process and starting a business requires thinking, doing, and dreaming. I will remain open to new ideas and will discern what is best for my journey. I will ask questions whenever I don’t understand something or have a blind spot on my radar. And I will humbly receive feedback from my customers, other second chance entrepreneurs, and the fruits of my labor, seeing all of it as an opportunity to grow. 
  • Helpful: Realizing that time is a limited resource and that I must use mine carefully and with great intention, I will make every effort to help other second chance entrepreneurs in the DNI community in any way that I can. Giving often pays off more than receiving, and I will strive to be an entrepreneur who gives back.
  • Honest: Deception is short sighted and harmful to myself and others. I will always strive to be an entrepreneur who speaks and acts truthfully, who tells it like it is and asks others for guidance, and will admit if I have made a mistake out of ignorance or malice. 
  • Hard working: By accepting my spot in the Rise Up, Get Started Matching Grant program, I acknowledge that I am committing to all of the above and that I am dedicating my time, talents, and resources to moving my business forward. This will require working while others rest, learning while others party, and making new friends while others fall back on old ones. I am willing to make those sacrifices because I believe in my ability to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

This accountability statement is a tall order, one that all of us will fall short of in one way or another. Thankfully, there’s more than enough grace to go around, and lots of good work to be done. 

Please keep our second chance entrepreneur community in your thoughts and prayers this year. And if you see any way that you’d like to help or support… let us know!

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This round of the Rise Up, Get Started Matching Grant Program is made possible thanks to a generous gift from the Impact KC giving circle. Learn more: 

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Determination, Incorporated is a 501C3 nonprofit in KCMO empowering formerly incarcerated people to seize employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in home building, home improvement, and affordable housing. To learn more, contact us here.

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