Businessman to Teach Atlantans with Rap Sheets How to Start Companies

Finding a job after serving time in jail or prison can be difficult, but entrepreneur Brian Hamilton offers a bold solution — start a business.

His nonprofit, Inmates to Entrepreneurs, is hosting a free four-hour seminar in Atlanta on Saturday teaching at least 1,300 people how to start their own company.

Hamilton started teaching 27 years ago in North Carolina prisons. That grew to an eight-week course of one-hour sessions along with a mentoring program. About three years ago, the organization started teaching inmates once they were out from behind bars.

Hamilton said he now has more time to focus on the nonprofit after his financial technology company Sageworks was bought by an investor in May.

“We can spend more money and we can hire more people and do more programs,” he said Friday.

Hamilton said his nonprofit has probably launched a couple hundred businesses over the last few years.

He often suggests former inmates start companies that require less than $500 to begin, like lawn care or home cleaning.

Hamilton said he’s offered instruction in New York City, and after Atlanta plans to go to Washington D.C.

The Atlanta class will be on the first floor of the Loudermilk Conference Center, at 40 Courtland St. NE, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is free, but online registration on Eventbrite is required.