Entrepreneurship training for people in prison

Imagine providing life changing access to entrepreneurship training to the most disenfranchised people in America - those locked up in the criminal justice system with no access to computers, the internet or mentorship. Be a part of a revolutionary education project at the intersection of social equity and entrepreneurship advancement.

person in prison cell learning about entrepreneurship

People in prison are desperate for entrepreneurship training.

”How do I start my own small business after release?” is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive and entrepreneurship training is by far the top educational topic requested by our learners. People in prison want to provide for themselves, their families and their communities after release. Often, starting a small business is one of few options for employment among returning citizens. 

Despite this intense passion, people in prison are not provided with modern, accessible, relevant entrepreneurship training.

The inherent motivations among incarcerated people to learn about entrepreneurship are ignored rather than encouraged by the criminal justice system. With 600,000 people released every year from state and federal prisons, this is a giant missed opportunity for improving outcomes for returning citizens, their families and communities.

Level is creating a series of entrepreneurship guides for people in prison across the country.

To help returning citizens avoid reincarceration and break the cycle of poverty after release, Level is creating a three part series of educational guides about entrepreneurship focused on the specific needs of low income adults.

The first guide in this series, called How To Start Your Own Business: Prepare To Launch, was released in March 2022 and focuses on key questions to ask before starting a small business. We have distributed this first guide to over 1,600 people in prison across the country, and the response has been amazing with a Net Promoter Score of 83. Participants are passionately asking for the next guides in our entrepreneurship series.

Level is currently raising funds for the creation and distribution of the second guide in Level’s entrepreneurship series called How To Start Your Own Business: Thrive In The First Year. This guide will focus on starting a small with reduced startup costs and investing profits into the business as it grows. The guide will provide proven strategies for how to set up a small business for long term success by tracking expenses, revenue and break even point.

How To Start Your Own Business: Thrive In The First Year will be created in collaboration with Brandon James, a passionate advocate for returning citizens who has himself started several successful businesses after release from prison.

We invite you to help Level reshape the story and change the American criminal justice system with dignity and optimism.

There is no better investment in an individual or their community than education. Your support invests in the inherent ability of incarcerated Americans to reshape not just their own narrative, but the story we all tell ourselves about what is possible.

Project budget

The total budget for this project is $29,675 including production of the guide plus plus distribution to 1,500 people in prison in the first year. The guide will live on in our permanent catalog and will be sent to thousands of incarcerated people over its lifetime. Level is raising funds for this project through a combination of foundation grants, corporate grants and public donations from individual philanthropists.

We have raised $18,650 for this project from corporate grants provided by Infotech, a foundation grant from the Bob Barker Foundation as well as from contributions from individual philanthropist donors including Monica Layfield and the Caplan Family.

Contribute to this project.

Make a meaningful impact for thousands of people in prison who want to learn about entrepreneurship.

Donate by credit card.

Donate by check.

We welcome donations by check, especially for larger contributions. Make checks payable to Level, note entrepreneurship in the memo, and mail to:


411 W Monroe St
Austin, TX 78704

Level is a 501c3 nonprofit, EIN 84-2956557. Donations are tax-deductible. Thank you!

Level has served 5,020 incarcerated learners at 949 state, county, federal and military prisons in 49 states.