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Long after criminals have fulfilled their debts to society, the majority of them struggle to find work. According to a study of IRS statistics by the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan think tank, 49 percent of ex-prisoners earned less than $500 in their first full year following release. [1]

The fact that they are limited in where they may work adds to the difficulty. Depending on the nature of the crime, you may be barred from doing some jobs that require you to handle money or deal with minors.

For many criminals seeking a fresh start, establishing a company is the best option. You get to govern your life instead of needing to pass muster with corporate recruiting managers.

Where can you obtain the starting money you need if you have limited financial resources? Small business grants for criminals are available. While the number of grant opportunities for criminals is limited, they do exist. Continue reading for some helpful resources to aid you in your search.

Felons are eligible for 13 business grants (Plus, Resources)

Your Place of Detention

If you’re presently imprisoned, make the most of the services available to you within the prison system before being released.

Many prisons offer programs to assist prisoners learn employment skills that may be used to establishing (and operating) a small company. You may be able to learn how to use Microsoft Office or enroll in a culinary arts school, for example.

Your Neighborhood

Small, regionally based programs aimed at assisting convicts in starting companies are common. The following sites may assist you in determining whether or not any programs are available in your area:

Websites and offices of your state government

Websites and offices of your county government

Websites and offices of your local government

Churches, temples, and other religious institutions in the area

Economic development agencies and organizations at the state and municipal levels

When searching for criminal business grants, this is a fantastic place to start.

HelpForFelons.org is a website dedicated to assisting criminals.

This website is about re-entering society in general, not about establishing a company. It does, however, provide a wealth of information ranging from legal advice to how to get school loans.

On this page, you’ll find links to each state’s reentry assistance programs.

From Prisoners to Entrepreneurs

This nonprofit community outreach organization provides two free entrepreneurship courses for individuals with criminal records: an eight-week course (now taught via Zoom) and a self-paced online course.

Former prisoners may receive the knowledge they need to start again, establish their own companies, and become useful members of society via this group.

Federal Student Loans and Small Business Grants for Offenders

Want to go back to school to learn accounting, graphic design, or how to be an HVAC mechanic, or another business-related skill? You may be able to fund your return to school with a federal Pell Grant or a federal student loan. Being a criminal does not automatically disqualify you; the primary criteria is financial necessity.

Find out more about federal student loans and grants.

Grants.gov

This website allows you to look for federal government grants that you may be qualified for. You should be aware that special business subsidies for criminals are unlikely to be available. Instead, search for grants that are specific to your company concept, country, history, or other qualities.

Also, charities get much more funding than for-profit companies, so you may want to consider establishing one.

Microloans from the Small Business Administration (SBA)

In general, obtaining an SBA loan for the purpose of establishing a company is difficult. The SBA Microloan program, which focuses on loans under $50,000 and has an average loan size of $13,000, is your best bet. The Small Business Administration does not issue loans directly; instead, it collaborates with authorized lenders and guarantees a part of the loan.

Marketplaces for Freelancers

Starting a low-cost company from home may be a wise decision. You won’t have to worry about credit checks or lease signings. Consider establishing a company that allows you to work with customers remotely, such as graphic design, freelance writing, website design, or marketing communications, if you have the abilities.

Three of the most prominent markets for matching independent contractors or freelancers with customers are Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru. You may feel secure dealing with clients across the nation or across the globe since the websites act as middlemen and manage payments.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Unfortunately, many scam artists prey on desperate individuals who want to work from home and be their own boss. The internet is awash with claims of earning money from home via telemarketing, filling envelopes, or medical billing.

Visit the FTC website and study their tips on identifying scammers before signing any contracts or sending any money to one of these organizations. Also, remember that if anything seems too good to be true, it most often is.

GoFundMe

GoFundMe is a crowd-funding website that has raised more than $3 billion for people.

Simply put up a campaign and promote it on social media. Donors feel comfortable donating money since the site serves as a middleman.

Most people use GoFundMe to fund things like schooling, medical bills, and charity contributions, but if you can make a compelling argument for why people should fund your business, it may be the ideal way to acquire the money you need.

IndieGoGo

This crowdfunding platform may assist you in obtaining money for new product ideas or innovations. The site can link you with design, prototyping, and retail partners to help bring your product to market, as well as offer assistance from professionals in all areas of starting and maintaining your crowdfunding campaign.