A Self-Employment and Empowerment Program for Women Who Have Served Their Time

A confident, smiling, pathways graduate who has made her U-Turn and is ready to launch her own business.Self-Employment Pathways for Women (Pathways) provides another option to employment for returning women. The program integrates NLEN’s successful job readiness program and social enterprise business with a new component: Small Business Administration (SBA) certified entrepreneurship training in partnership with our sister organization Bethel New Life. In the coming year, 12 women in two cohorts will be equipped to manage their business and increase their household income.

After completing the program, each participant will have:

  • A Business plan/self-employment strategy
  • A calculation of Costs of Goods Sold (COGS)
  • Plan for inventory
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Plan for a profitable business that will cover child care costs, promotional materials, electric bills, and business cards.

Training will culminate with formal business plan presentations and a graduation ceremony.

Over the last 30 years, the number of women in prison increased 646% to over 100,000 – 1.5 times the rate of increase for men. 62% of these women are mothers of minors and 1 in 25 are pregnant when admitted. It is estimated that 1 in 18 black women will be imprisoned at some point in their lives and 90% of all prisoners will be released at some point. NLEN offers a pathway to self-sufficiency for these women and their families.

Pathways Enrollment Qualifications

  • Must have a felony conviction
  • Graduated from NLEN’s U-Turn Permitted job readiness program
  • Completed Bethel New Life’s Entrepreneurship Training Program (ETP) program assessment, application, and personal statement of interest in participating in the program
  • Have a sincere desire to start or expand a self-employment strategy

Pathways Learning Objectives

  • Become accustomed to the rigor of steady work, understand and follow protocols of the workplace
  • Develop skills in major aspects of running a successful small business, including product care (beekeeping), honey extraction, manufacturing and packaging products, marketing and sales calls, product demonstrations, shipping and receiving, and inventory.
  • Acquire knowledge of how to secure certifications and licenses
  • Basic financial management skills, both personal and business; know how to that calculate Costs of Goods Sold (COGS).
  • Understanding basics of running a small business, including how to plan ahead, budget, manage inventory, customer service, and develop a social media strategy and other marketing.
  • Improved sense of self-worth and a professional image

To learn more about the program contact Mark Sanders at 773-638-1806 or

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