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Trenton groups holding Entrepreneurial Workshops for recently incarcerated

Tracey Syphax introduces Mayor Reed Gusciora at a press conference Tuesday at City Hall. Syphax helped announce a program for the city relaxing requirements for formerly incarcerated people looking to work in city jobs.

TRENTON – This Saturday will be the first of two Reentry Ventures: Entrepreneurship Workshops. Held at Greater Mt. Zion AME Church from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the free class will be for individuals released from prison within the last three years.

The event is a partnership between From The Block to the Boardroom, Street Starturs, the City of Trenton, Salvation and Social Justice, and the Trenton Restorative Street Team.

Hosts include formerly incarcerated author, From The Block to the Boardroom CEO/President and Phax Group LLC, Tracey Syphax, and educator, entrepreneur, author, and startup strategist, C.J. Meenan.

“Each participant of this cohort will also get a free online membership for one year onto our online community where they can continue to work on their startup plan,” Syphax said in a phone interview. “One of the most troublesome problems that formerly incarcerated individuals have is they have great ideas and they may even come up with a good plan, getting funding has always been a challenge. Not just formally incarcerated but, anyone particularly of color.”

In partnership with the Greater Newark Enterprise, each participant who completes the start-up program will have an opportunity to receive a low-interest loan fund of $20,000.

Syphax plans to do more events like this one including more entrepreneurial classes, financial literacy workshops, economic opportunities, credit repair, and home ownership.

“When I look at public safety and I look at crime in our neighborhood, I recognize the underlying cause of crime, the underlying cause of street violence is lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, lack of vocational training, and also lack of opportunities to own your own business. I believe these types of programs, that give people opportunities who are sometimes discriminated against and not hired because of their record, but it gives them the opportunity to create their own business and in return, if they can make their own, they can hire those in the community and they’re not out committing crimes. From my standpoint, I truly believe these are the real smart-on-crime initiatives that we should be putting forth here in the City of Trenton,” Syphax added.

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