"When you're finished changing, you're finished." - Ben Franklin
We are moving towards a nonprofit/for-profit hybrid model and we are excited about the future. Mission: Launch will remain a nonprofit deeply committed to community engagement and inclusive entrepreneurship. It will also be the founding nonprofit partner to a for-profit software company that delivers R3 Score, a risk analysis tool designed to move people beyond their criminal record.
For several years we hosted community events and led The Rebuilding Reentry Coalition, which resulted in a national network of 400+ individuals, corporations, government agencies, nonprofits and civic coding communities. Our collective network received national and local media attention as we came together for tech-driven community problem solving. And while that was nice it only served to amplify the great need for innovative reentry solutions.
As a directly impacted mother-daughter team we have become national thought leaders, providing context in critical conversations. Indeed Teresa's 2016 TEDx Mid-Atlantic talk "We've Made Coming Home Too Hard" has been helpful in building bridges among unlikely allies.
Moving from problem identification to dialogue to action led us to unearthing the significant barriers to earning an income with a criminal record. Our theories on necessity entrepreneurship in reentry challenged us to build a 4-month business accelerator program, LaunchPad. Since 2015 we have provided high touch support via technical assistance, shared workspace and leadership development training to entrepreneurs leading to the formation or growth of worker owned co-operatives, sole proprietorships and limited liability corporations throughout Maryland and Washington DC. In each of these cases we realized there are critical barriers to forming and growing a business with the main gatekeeper being the criminal background check process.
So for the last two years we have been working to determine what would it really take to create an alternative to the background check. After our time together we realized it was a major undertaking but one worth pursuing because at scale we could truly help millions of people. R3 Score provides an opportunity see systems-level change. With the help of our trusted advisors we are venturing into the formation of a new company and are planning for Teresa to transition into the core leadership of R3 Score. This transition was seeded by New Profit and John Legend's FREE AMERICA cohort, Unlocked Futures. Teresa was selected in December of 2017 to begin her transition as a result of this opportunity.
How this hybrid model will play out in the real world looks like LaunchPad being revived as a weekend bootcamp rather than a 4-month business accelerator. LaunchPad will identify entrepreneurs and prepare them for mainstream banking products and services, specifically loans through community development financial institutions (CDFIs), credit unions, community banks and national commercial banks.
Our vetted financial partners will use R3 Score along with their traditional processing tools to aid them in selecting entrepreneurs to receive loans varying in size from $1,000 - $40,000. These loans are designed for personal credit building/repair, the consolidation of debt associated with ones record (debt related to child support payments, fines, fees and/or restitution) as well as small business loans.
This model of providing support to nontraditional entrepreneurs and introducing them to financial institutions will be piloted in Baltimore, MD this year. Both organizational teams are excited about learning how to help entrepreneurs secure the financial support they need while providing market value to banking partners that are committed to non-predatory practices for this untapped customer segment.
If you are interested in learning more about R3 Score contact [email protected]
If you are interested in learning more about LaunchPad and the Baltimore pilot contact [email protected]