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Project will teach ex-offenders entrepreneurial skills


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A project that offers ex-offenders a chance to regain a foothold on the employment ladder is running at the University of Bradford.

Project ReMAKE is an entrepreneurship training programme for formerly incarcerated people. The nine-week programme introduces participants to the business skills needed to build, launch and sustain self-employed businesses.

The project was inspired by a similar programme in the USA, operated by Stanford University – Project ReMADE - and is designed to break the cycle of reoffending.

Seventeen people are enrolled on the first course to be run at Bradford, with classes online ahead of an in-person graduation set for late July. Successful participants go on to either set up their business or are offered employment through ReMAKE’s corporate partners.

Professor David Spicer, Director of Business and Community Engagement in the university’s School of Management, said: “ReMAKE is a programme of support for prison leavers, which has run in London but is now coming to Bradford.

“Those taking part will be given a chance to learn entrepreneurial skills with a view to turning a business idea into reality. Participation in the course is designed to show employers they have a level of commitment and the skills to become employable."

Professor of Small Business Development and Organisation Studies

Pictured above: Professor David Spicer

Professor Amir Sharif, Dean of the Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences, said: "We are excited to be a part of this programme. Working in partnership with the founders and business mentors, we believe that ReMAKE@Bradford aligns very well with our university vision of being a place that supports people who want to improve their life chances and make a positive contribution to society. We believe that through education and lifelong learning we can make people thrive – Bradford is that place.

"We have great support from local as well as national entrepreneurs, changemakers and employers including Capita and Linklaters. This will be the largest cohort so far of the ReMAKE programme and we can already see some exciting business ideas that will be supported through mentorship and guidance over the coming weeks. Good luck to all!” 

Dean of the Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences

Pictured above: Professor Amir Sharif

Dr Kameel Khan, Founder, Project ReMAKE, said: "The University of Bradford is working with Project ReMAKE to use entrepreneurship education to help prepare prison leavers for reintegration into society. It is not only the right thing to do , it involves student and faculty members with the larger business community to repurpose this marginalised group while undertaking a social impact programme."

Omar Mentesh, mentor at ReMAKE, said: "From prison bars to business stars! I have been fortunate enough to have embraced the power of transformation as an ex-prisoner, but I feel just as fortunate to be working with Project ReMAKE and the University of Bradford..

"This partnership is illuminating the path for many men and women who have experienced the barriers to work and/or business due to the stigma attached to having a criminal record. As a previous graduate of the ReMAKE programme, I recognise the importance of hope for people who are dealing with this issue. However, we have turned this hope into a reality via the entrepreneurial skills training, academic support, mentoring, and countless career and business opportunities we offer the ReMAKE entrepreneurs.

"Project ReMAKE and the University of Bradford recognise the untapped talent that resides in those that have been caught up in the justice system, like me, and to direct this talent in ways that will reshape their lives for the better and create a bright future for our communities."