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The Entrepreneur Project: A BOSS Pilot Program

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Do you have an innovative idea? A problem to solve? These are the questions we ask at BOSS' Career Training and Employment Center, downtown Oakland.

An exciting program is underway at BOSS! Spearheaded by Careem Conley, Director of Business Development, and Michelle Williams, Retention Specialist, the Entrepreneur Project, Pitch A BOSS, is a competition where participants develop their micro-business plans to win seed funding.

This project aims to re-imagine the staff and client experience at BOSS and generate a greater sense of pride and excitement about achievements across the organization.

The participant cohort comprises 8 to 10 people who fill out an application explaining their business plan, including the core idea, market goals, competition, etc. Participants are required to have been formerly incarcerated and be currently housed at a BOSS site and preferably qualify for AB 109. Five Bay Area mentors with their own business experiences guide them and three judges decide the final winners.

This is a pilot project where it allows them to start their dream.

Michelle Williams, BOSS Retention Specialist and Co-Lead of the Entrepreneur Project

The idea began years back when BOSS received pilot funding from the Oakland Rotary Club to launch an entrepreneurship project. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was put on hold and then revived when COVID restrictions loosened. With Careem on the team, his experience managing such programs made him the perfect person to orchestrate this initiative together with Williams, who has also had prior entrepreneurial experience.

Some participants have had ideas for several years but no support, resources, or coaching.

Careem Conley, BOSS Director of Business Development and Co-Lead of the Entrepreneur Project

To date, the participants have been paired with their mentors, and the goal is to have the first draft of their projects completed soon. Then, they will present their final presentations to a three-judge panel in late October or early November.

Until then, stay tuned for more news on this project, and learn how you can contribute to our efforts to empower those re-entering society!

Help Us Continue Life-Changing Programs!

Your support will help us:

  • Empower students with entrepreneurial skills

  • Gain leadership skills so that they can thrive

  • Learn and understand the 5C's: credibility, clarity, conviction, capital and concentration in execution

  • Develop a skillset that will change the trajectory of their lives


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