Mayor Sylvester Turner and Office of Business Opportunity Director Carlecia D. Wright, with leaders from local and national organizations, celebrated the first-ever Turnaround Entrepreneurship Program (TEP) graduation ceremony at Houston City Hall today.
The 13 graduates now have a business plan vetted by professionals to start a business designed to help them provide for themselves and their families. Mayor Turner also announced the continuation of the program, thanks to funding by Capital One.
The Office of Business Opportunity manages the program, which is part of the Turnaround Houston! initiative started by Mayor Turner started in 2016 to help Houstonians overcome barriers to employment. The program teaches previously incarcerated individuals how to start and operate a business. A construction firm, a tele-communications infrastructure installer and a ride service to get patients to medical appointments are just a few of the promising business ideas.
“Congratulations to these 13 extraordinary graduates for their dedication to the program and for producing viable small business plans,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The Turnaround Entrepreneurship Program showcases my administration’s commitment to ensuring that all Houstonians benefit from the economic power of this great city and that all of its residents live in thriving, complete communities.”
The program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ DollarWise Campaign. Starting in January, students met on Saturdays at the Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library. More than 50 applications were received, 16 were chosen for the cohort, and 13 completed the program.
“It is exciting to see the powerful and positive impact that TEP has had on these students lives,” said OBO Director Carlecia D. Wright. “And thanks to our partners at Microsoft, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Staples, OBO is also helping them get started by providing them with technology, seed funds and office supplies.”
Thanks to the success of this first cohort, Capital One has committed $10,000 to fund a second Turnaround Entrepreneurship Program in 2019. For much more on the Turnaround Houston! initiative, visit turnaroundhouston.org.