Our Chicago: Helping women of color entrepreneurs, giving people with criminal records a 2nd chance

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Women of color looking to launch a business have been lacking resources, and citizens with criminal records have struggled to join the work force.

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It has been historically difficult for women of color to have access to resources for businesses, according to Abigail Ingram, Women in Entrepreneurship Institute director.

Black women are among the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the United States, but it is more difficult than it should be to start a business, according to Abigail Ingram, director of the Women In Entrepreneurship Institute.

"First of all, there are the barriers that are easy to quantify, so these include things like access to capital, the ability to secure large contracts. I think probably the most easy to quantify example is showing how little venture capital funding and other types of investment women of color and women overall are able to access," Ingram said.

Karin M. Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and Jeff Korzenik, an executive with Fifth Third Bank and author, have been advocates for giving people with a criminal record a second chance.

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Americans with criminal records can integrate and contribute to the labor force through second-chance hiring, according to experts.

"Nationally, the unemployment rate for people, returning citizens, is thought to be about 27%, and that actually understates the problem because many people simply give up because they face such a wall of resistance to opportunity, so that doesn't include people who have dropped out or sadly, some get rearrested. It's a tremendous waste of human talent," Korzenik said.

For More Information on the Women In Entrepreneurship Institute, visit https://business.depaul.edu/about/centers-institutes/women-in-entrepreneurship-institute/Pages/default.aspx

For More Information on Hire Calling, visit chicookworks.org/hirecalling.