Startup believes in giving ex-offenders the opportunity to turn their lives around and earn a successful living, enabling them to become self-employed by offering focused, caring and consistent support, financial and personal, giving a real chance of a fresh start. Startup run information sessions where business advisers talk to clients in prison. They offer through the gate support to promising candidates, including funding for further training, essential equipment, website, book keeping, insurance and ongoing business support for a year. They offer additional access to a peer mentoring programme, run regular workshops and also Startup days offering holistic support including partner agencies offering advice on housing, substance abuse etc

The Startupnow for Women programme supports women into self-employment. Any woman who has been in prison or has found contact with the CJS has affected her chances of employment, is eligible for feedback on her business idea. Promising candidates are taken to the next stage where they develop a workable business plan. Some of these women will go onto further education/training and employment, others will go onto set up their business and receive Startup’s suite of support for a whole year following release from prison. Self-employment is an attractive option for many women. Many are serving community sentences or may have never been in previous employment. Often they are mothers who need more flexibility to meet family demands. Some may have learnt or discovered new skills in prison which can be turned into thriving small businesses. For these women, Startup’s hands on support can offer a route out of re-offending.

Startup’s support in London is currently on hold as they wait for funding to materialise, they will update the information here when this changes. Startup have just launched a new project Breaking the Cycle in the Thames Valley supporting 200 young homeless women over next year whose lives have already come into contact with the CJS. They are delivering workshops, peer mentoring and support into self-employment for anyone meeting the criteria and living in the Thames Valley.

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