Alternatives to Traditional Employment: Self-Employment &Starting Your Own Business

Many non-profit organizations and government agencies now offer assistance to individuals who want to start their own business. Some of these organizations specifically focus on helping people with criminal records to start their own businesses.

Here are just a few examples—you can also contact the U.S. Small Business Administration to ask about other resources in your area:

    **Project ReMADE—Stanford Law School
    Email: [email protected]
    **Ready, Willing & Able
    345 E 102nd St #305
    New York NY 10028
    Legal Services for Entrepreneurs—Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
    Clinics in San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Area
    Telephone: (415) 543-9444 extension 217
    Email: [email protected]
    Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
    Locations in San Francisco, Richmond, East Palo Alto, and San Rafael
    Telephone: 415-541-8580
    Email: [email protected]
    SCORE (English and Spanish services available)
    Locations and workshops throughout California, as well as personal mentoring and online resources:
    U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)—Small Business Development Centers
    Locations and events throughout California:

** (special programs for people with criminal records)

HELPFUL HINTGetting Funding for a Small Business

Some organizations and government agencies provide money to small businesses and people trying to start their own business. Sometimes the funding is through grants—money that you do NOT have to repay, but generally must use in a certain way related to the business. More often, the funding is through loans—money that you DO have to repay (usually with interest) in the future.Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get loans depending on your conviction record. One place to start is the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is planning to change its policy to allow people on probation or parole to be eligible for microloans of up to $50,000.[2125] However, you may still be denied if you’ve been convicted of a felony “crime of moral turpitude” (i.e., involving violence or dishonesty).[2126] For this reason, it may be helpful to contact one of the entrepreneurship programs listed to see if they have suggestions or resources to find funding.

  1. 2125

    79 C.F.R. § 14617.

  2. 2126

    13 C.F.R. § 120.110(n).