Returning Citizens

Returning Citizens

The Problem.

The United States accounts for less than five percent of the global population but nearly 25% of the global prison population. To make matters worse, more than 4 in 10 prisoners are re-arrested upon release. For those who stay on the outside, barriers to jobs and housing lead too many to homelessness.

Returning Citizens

Our Solution.

Commonwealth formed an operating partnership with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) to create a venture fund for Second Chance businesses. Since 2004, PEP has produced the nation’s leading results in the prison rehabilitation industry by dramatically reducing return-to-prison rates while considerably increasing employment rates and business ownership. Now Commonwealth will help accelerate that success via impact investing.

Upcoming Events

PITCH COMPETITION 2020

Returning Citizens

In the fall of 2020, PEP and Commonwealth with host the 2nd annual Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator pitch competition on the historic Rice University campus in Houston. Here PEP alumni entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to investors.

Past Events

PITCH COMPETITION 2019

Returning Citizens

1ST PLACE

RPM Diesel Repair

2ND PLACE

FSO Construction & Management

3RD PLACE

Cherokee Acres Homes

On November 20th, 2019, PEP hosted the “Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator—Fueling Growth through Impact Investing” at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The event showcased three Prison Entrepreneurship Program graduate-owned companies.  Sharks included Mark Holden (Koch Industries), Biggs Burke (record executive and film producer), Doug Deason (Dallas investor), and Joe Horford (PEP Pennsylvania founder).

President Bush used his 2004 State of the Union address to proclaim that “America is a place of second chances.”  PEP was founded that same year. Click the image to read the chapter, “To Rescue and Restore” from Jay Hein’s book, The Quiet Revolution.

Learn More

What is the Prison Entrepreneurship Program?

Watch this 2-minute introduction to the Prison Entrepreneurship Program featuring PEP graduate Pat Mcgee telling his story and explain how PEP saved his life. “PEP is not just another prison program. We are a revolution,” he says. 

2019 Barbed Wire to Business Event Introduction

The 2019 Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator gave investors an authentic look into PEP and their 15 years of fruitful results and strategy to grow and go deeper. Watch CEO Bryan Kelley deliver welcoming remarks.

Press