I love our students at Davis Correctional! No one complains or gripes in this class. (That’s not something I can say about many of my students!) These fellows want a better life…starting now. Their energy is inspiring. Their questions and discussions are focused on solutions. Even though they are in prison, they are free to dream and take action in the direction of their dreams.

No matter what you think about whether or not they should be locked up, the reality is that they – most of them – will be released. So, recognizing these kindred entrepreneurial spirits, we are committed to help them become successful business owners. We just kicked off our latest Biz Plan Challenge, using The Weekend Biz Plan for our basic curriculum. On June 14th, we head back for the Biz Plan Presentations Competition. Wooohoooo! Check out this article from a local newspaper…

The Bare Bones Biz Plan Challenge is changing the lives and futures of the soon to be released.

Davis Correctional Facility’s Education Department recently hosted an entrepreneurship seminar for offenders interested in starting, owning, and operating their own business upon release.

Ellen Rohr President of Bare Bones Biz was the featured speaker at the event. Other guests present were Ellen’s sister, Gail Gudell a freelance accountant, and Randy Mackenzie, former Commercial Cleaning instructor at DCF and current owner/operator of Clean Sweep.

The Bare Bones Team’s first visit to DCF precipitated from Mr. Mackenzie’s order of two books by Mrs. Rohr, Where Did the Money Go? – Accounting Basics for the Business Owner Who Wants to Get Profitable and How Much Should I Charge – Pricing Basics for Making Money. Ellen and Gail were so intrigued as to why a prison was ordering her business books and in what capacity they were using them, that she scheduled a visit to DCF and with Mr. Mackenzie’s Commercial Cleaning class. What they found within these individuals, was nothing short of inspiring. As they talked with the class, they discovered that these students were more familiar about the business basics covered in the books and more eager to learn what it takes to make a small business profitable and successful than her “real world” clients. The rest as they say is history. Ellen and Gail have found a “captive audience” of motivated individuals dedicated to taking the necessary steps to ensure their success upon release, and this group has found two mentors dedicated to making this success a reality.

The Bare Bones Biz Team makes regular visits to DCF. DCF Principal Michael Williams and Inmate Facilitators have created a class curriculum to serve the most possible participants. Current participants took part in a multi-faceted five-hour seminar. Ellen spoke covered such topics as Prospective Company Mission, Goals, Organization, Financial Budgeting, and Marketing. Gail also added some often ignored qualities of a successful business owner, “being clean, sober, and on time”. Randy addressed the participants about obstacles he has faced as a small business owner and the help that Ellen’s strategies have given him with his Cleaning Business.

Working in small teams, participants will build viable business plans over the next eight weeks. Ellen and Gail will communicate from Missouri by email, phone, teleconference, and traditional mail for feedback on the budding business plans. At the conclusion of the class, participants will present their plans to their fellow participants, DCF Education Staff, and the Bare Bones Biz Team for judging. No matter who walks away with the top prize, everyone involved walks away a winner.