Workforce discrimination against individuals with an arrest and/or conviction record leads to a lack of financial wellbeing. Mission: Launch operates a small-scale, business accelerator to empower and teach participants how to launch or grow their tech dependent business.
Returning citizens are a disadvantaged population due to their lack of opportunities in mainly housing, transportation, food security, health care/mental health, community reunification, education and employment. Small strides are being taken to focus on each of these with a special call for innovation impacting economic development. Although there have clearly been improvements “in licensing and employment law, DC, Maryland and Virginia law still leave licensing boards and employers significant discretion to deny employment because of past criminal history.” The inability to work leads to poor social and economic outcomes, with rippling effects throughout the entire Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan region. In order to reduce safety net usage as well as economic dependency on family support systems opportunities to gain self-sufficiency must be expanded. Inclusive entrepreneurship champions a genuine attitude that those with a social disability (caused by shame and stigma) should be afforded an opportunity to develop and sustain a business – lifestyle or high growth – when they are otherwise locked out of the traditional workforce.
Supported by a 2015, US Small Business Administration Challenge Prize, Mission: Launch built Mission: LaunchPad.
7 area returning citizens were selected to be a part of the inaugural "learning cohort." It is the organization's intention to learn what support these women and men need and collect the lessons in an effort to support DC and Baltimore startup ecosystems in becoming "more reentry friendly."
Mission: Launch, Inc. is a Kauffman FastTrac affilaite, and proud to offer a 16-week entrepreneurship training opportunity to the Washington, D.C./Maryland region. The Kauffman Foundation is a global provider of education courses that equip aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with the business skills and insights, tools, resources, and networks to start and grow successful businesses. At the core of each FastTrac course is a community of peers; classmates to support and encourage one another to pursue their startups or strategic business plans.