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Prison Entrepreneurship Program With a three-year success rate as high as 95%, PEP is a global leader in prison rehabilitation. In 2013, Baylor University determined that PEP delivers a 340% ROI for every dollar donated.

Accelerator / Incubator



What if you were known for the worst thing you’ve ever done? Would you want a chance to redefine yourself—a fresh start?

At PEP, our beliefs drive us to offer that opportunity to reformed inmates who thrive on challenge and accountability.

Established in 2004, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is a Houston-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We have pioneered innovative programs that connect the nation’s top executives, entrepreneurs, and MBA students with convicted felons. Our entrepreneurship boot camp and re-entry programs are proven solutions for preventing recidivism, maximizing self-sufficiency and transforming broken lives.

We’re on a mission to stimulate positive life transformation for executives and inmates, uniting them through entrepreneurial passion, education and mentoring.

In late 2013, Dr. Byron Johnson led a team of independent researchers from Baylor University to assess PEP’s results. The study, which can be downloaded below, confirmed the following:

Benchmarking: In terms of prevention of recidivism, PEP outperformed all nine of the other major prison rehabilitation services in Texas. In some cases, PEP delivered a 70-80% improvement over other models.

Control Group Validation: The study compared 94 PEP graduates to a control group of over 50 inmates who had been selected for PEP but who did not participate in PEP’s programs (i.e. they paroled before class began). The recidivism rate of the control was almost identical to the state average, and nearly 3-4 times that of PEP’s graduates.

Return on Investment: On a very conservative basis, every dollar donated to PEP yields a 340% ROI due to avoided incarceration, increased child support payments and reduced reliance on government assistance.

PEP is dedicated to delivering the nation’s best outcomes in the prison re-entry field. In addition to the above, this includes:
- 100% employment within 90 days of release from prison
- Average time "from prison to paycheck" is less than 30 days
- Average starting salary is nearly twice minimum wage
- Around 95% still employed after 1 year (compared to 40-50% unemployment among ex-offenders nationally)
- Over 165 entrepreneurial ventures launched by graduates
- Over 90% of these businesses are still operational today
- At least three of these ventures are now generating over $1MM in gross revenue per yer

And best of all, our long-term recidivism rate is about 80-90% lower than the national average. As a benchmark, the average inmate released from Texas prisons has about a 24% chance of returning to prison within three years; if that same inmate had graduated from PEP, his likelihood of returning to prison would have dropped to as low as <5%.

PEP is 100% privately funded with $0 from the government, yet our work saves taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

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Program Details

PEP’s services begin inside the prison system with a rigorous application and screening process that
selects only the top 200-300 applicants from pool of thousands. Recruits are then transferred by the state to
one of two prisons where PEP operates (one outside of Houston, Texas and the other outside of Dallas,
Texas). Recruits begin with a 3-month, in-prison character development program. This is immediately
followed by a 6-month in-prison “mini MBA” program that enables participants to earn a college Certificate in
Entrepreneurship from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business (the #5 entrepreneurship program
in the country according to a 2013 Entrepreneur Magazine study). During this in-prison program, all
graduates complete a financial literacy course, an employment workshop, a business etiquette course and a
Toastmasters class; they also develop a complete business plan for a real business that they can pursue
outside of prison and then pitch this plan over 120 times in a “Shark Tank” format (including before groups of
executive volunteers).
These in-prison services are then followed by an array of post-release services that include case
management, housing, job placement, basic needs assistance, and continuing education program through a
weekly program led by volunteer business leaders. PEP also offers business start-up support services,
including access to capital, consulting, affordable incubation space and access to PEP’s network as
prospective customers for their businesses.
Results include:
 Over 1,000 graduates;
 3-year recidivism rate as low as 5% (compared to the national average of nearly 50%);
 100% of active graduates find a job within 90 days of release from prison (average time “from prison
to paycheck” is less than a month)
 Average starting wages above $14/hour;
 95% still employed after 12 months (compared to a nearly 50% national unemployment rate among
 Over 165 businesses launched by PEP graduates, including at least 3 generating over $1M in annual

For more Information


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