Former Inmates are probably one of the society’s most stigmatized persons, and it’s easy to see why. Their dirty past has placed a benchmark to what they can become in life. As such, society tends to tag them as failures, swindlers, misfits who shouldn’t be taking seriously.
Notwithstanding, a few years ago my sojourn delved into teaching entrepreneurship to inmates, and since then my mindset about prisons and inmates as regards entrepreneurship and business has been radically transformed. This group of people the society despises so much are the most receptive, teachable and inquisitive individuals I have come across in my twenty plus years in the field of entrepreneurship.
You can’t imagine the demands by current and former inmates on how we can assist them to start up their own business. The only challenge we tend to face is linking former inmates up with mentors, teachers, and well-meaning individuals to assist them in their quest to start their own businesses.
Having done this work for some years now, I have been startled times and times again when I get to listen to inmates offer of the grid innovative business ideas that I can’t but conclude that starting a business is one of the greatest options there is for the groups of ex-offenders. These offenders have very rare inbuilt traits that will come in handy when starting a business venture. Below are the three traits that make ex-inmates great entrepreneurs.
Fear of failure is not an issue
The fear of failure is one obstacle that has boxed a lot of entrepreneurs into not launching their dream business opportunities. No entrepreneur wants to be tagged a failure, hence a lot of them shy away from taking certain opportunities head on. Notwithstanding, former inmates are the most optimistic persons I have come across in the long while, they are more than willing to jump at any opportunity, their resolve is, they have nothing to lose.
Consequently, these groups of individuals are not victims of fear, they confront opportunities headlong. Their major challenge isn’t failure; their major challenge is how to make the first sale. If the majority of entrepreneurs could act and think like this ex-offenders, then success wouldn’t be a hard bargain.
They are no strangers to risk
Former inmates have seen it all in life, from the risk of illegal street activities to gang wars and myriads of illegal events. This has made them no strangers to risk especially when it comes to business-related risk. They have come to terms with the fact that risks in life are inevitable and taking on business risks like financial and operational risk wouldn’t be such a big issue. Let's give it to them, these inmates are certified risk takers, nothing seems to deter theses group of people.
The stakes are high
The odd of an ex-offender getting a befitting, decent or well-paying job is quite slim. Surveys and research have clearly shown that majority of ex-offenders are jobless especially in the first year of their release. Because of this difficulty in landing a job, most ex-offenders tend to go back to crime in a bid to survive. However, because most ex-offenders have few options of becoming productive to themselves and societies, they become motivated to become a success story in business.