The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is accepting entries for the Aspire Challenge, a prize competition of up to $1.2 million to expand access to entrepreneurial education and microloans for formerly incarcerated individuals.
The competition will make up to 16 awards of $75,000 to organizations across the nation to assist in delivering entrepreneurial training and microloan assistance to formerly incarcerated individuals. The submission period will end Feb. 12. The SBA will name winners by March 14.
“Entrepreneurship and small business ownership are proven paths toward wealth creation and financial independence, especially for people who might otherwise feel trapped by their circumstances,” Tameka Montgomery, associate administrator for the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development, said.
The SBA will award the prizes to organizations through the online competition platform, www.challenge.gov. The competition is open to both for-profit and nonprofit entities and organizations, and they must have an account in the System for Award Management.
Components by which the submissions will be assessed include recruitment methods, education/training delivery, provision of mentoring services, community connections and ways in which participants will be connected to access to capital and financial literacy.