Entrepreneur In Training Partnership

The Entrepreneur in Training Partnership (EITP) facilitates free entrepreneurship, job readiness, and personal development training for currently and formerly incarcerated community members. The EITP is a collaboration between UW-Madison Extension and Defy Ventures, a national organization dedicated to helping end recidivism by training formerly incarcerated people to become entrepreneurs. Using the Defy Ventures curriculum and program model, we train justice-involved community members and connect them with coaches from the local business community. Entrepreneurs In Training (EITs) in our programs receive practical wisdom on how to start a thriving business and lifelong access to our alumni community.

We are able to offer this program for free to our participants through partnerships with:

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How to Get Involved

The Entrepreneur In Training Partnership works to transform the lives of business leaders and people with criminal histories through their collaboration along the entrepreneurial journey. There are many pathways that people can take as a part of our community. Learn more in the drop-down menus below.

In-custody programs: We offer several courses in select Department of Corrections facilities. These courses are limited to persons currently in the care of the Department of Corrections at participating facilities. Current facilities include Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center and Racine Youthful Offender Correctional Facility.  Contact us for more information.

Post-Release Programs: In-person or Virtual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp: A 14-week class that meets twice a week. EITs leave the class with a realistic, tested business concept, a pitch, and the leadership skills to implement their plan.

EIT Alumni Association: All EIT graduates are in the alumni association and invited to participate in regular events and workshops with peers and coaches for continued support and networking.

Pre-Accelerator and Accelerator: EITs who have completed an in-custody or post-release program can take additional courses to help launch their businesses with coaching and support. Graduates of the Accelerator program can pitch the EITP Investment Committee for business grants.

Coach: Provide wisdom and constructive feedback to EITs as they build business plans. 

Mentor: Provide one-on-one mentoring to EITs working to launch businesses in Accelerator 1.

Newsletter Network: Sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly updates on opportunities to get involved.

Support our Business Grants: Contact EITP director Diana Hammer for more information on how you can financially contribute to the Business Grants program for EIT Accelerator graduates. Not sure where you fit? Learn more about opportunities for the community at our next info session. 

Not sure where you fit? Learn more about opportunities for the community at our next info session.

Stay Connected

You can contact us at EITPartnership@extension.wisc.edu or 920-929-3173.  Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive periodic updates and opportunities to join in. Follow us on our EITP Facebook page.



Our Work

Supporting Business Succession & Transition: Lessons Learned from Minnesota
WIndicators Volume 5, Number 5: Understanding and Mobilizing the Potential of Entrepreneurs of Color in Wisconsin 
Pandemic Fad or Here to Stay? Impacts of Remote Work on Employees, Businesses and Communities
2022 Northwoods Economic Development Summit
WIndicators Volume 5, Number 4: Returns to Higher Education
The Hotel Industry: Recovery and Future Development in Our Communities
The Rise Of Entrepreneurship During the Pandemic
In Our Words (Episode 10)
In Our Words (Episode 9)
In Our Words (Episode 8)
In Our Words (Episode 7)
In Our Words (Episode 6)

Latest News & Updates

Supporting Business Succession & Transition: Lessons Learned from Minnesota
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A Broader Vision of Quality of Life as Economic Development Policy
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The Evers Administration Prioritized Small Businesses in its COVID Response
Economist argues for boosting ‘homegrown’ businesses over attracting out-of-state companies
Majority Of WI Farms Depend On Off-Farm Income
The Hotel Industry: Recovery and Future Development in Our Communities

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