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Prison Entrepreneurship Program Announces Class 18 Kick-off

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Business Executives Encouraged to Attend and Volunteer Their Time and Expertise to Texas’ Highly Successful Prison Re-Entry Program

HOUSTON, July, 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), a business boot-camp that teaches qualified Texas prisoners real-world business skills so they may become productive members of the business community upon their release from incarceration, today announced its Class 18 Kick-off event. The event will take place on Friday, July 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Cleveland Correctional in Cleveland, Texas, and is open to executives, politicians, and investors who can apply to attend by visiting

On June 8, 2012, PEP graduated 64 future business owners and employees in its 17th graduation ceremony. “Having a new identity as a business owner who can contribute to the community from which we have taken something means so much to us,” said Sherif Alghali, Valedictorian of PEP’s Class 17. “This program has been absolutely wonderful.”

PEP also recently announced the addition of 14 new advisory board members whose experience ranges from highly successful entrepreneurs, investors, and politicians, to men who first came to PEP as incarcerated men.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the PEP program as I strongly believe in second chances—particularly with programs that help people who want to help themselves,” said Keith Okano, president of Bridgeway Software and PEP Houston Advisory Board member. “PEP’s requirements, selection process, and strenuous program ensure that its participants are truly committed to change and proving they are willing to work for it.”

“Since 2004, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program has been guided by some of the strongest business minds to ever lend their time and talent to the nonprofit sector,” said Bert Smith, PEP’s chief executive officer. “The experience, time, and enthusiasm these volunteers bring to PEP are critical to helping empower men in prison to stay out of prison.”


Established in 2004, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is a Houston-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The program’s mission is to transform inmates and executives by unlocking human potential through entrepreneurial passion, education, and mentoring. PEP’s groundbreaking results include a return-to-prison rate of less than 5%, employment rate of 100% within 90 days, and the successful launch of more than 100 businesses. To learn more, visit

SOURCE Prison Entrepreneurship Program

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