Inmates to Entrepreneurs: Denetria Myles

Denetria Myles, a lifelong entrepreneur, began her first businesses – real estate investing and a trucking company – in 2006 after becoming a new mother and wanting to build a legacy she could leave behind for her son. “Being a mom is part of the motivation. You look at your child and you want to give him the world. I needed to leave something sustainable he could take over,” Myles explained.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur – I can create my own schedule. I work harder but I am able to employ others and create the type of income I want. As an entrepreneur, there is no ceiling on where you can go.”

At the time Myles was sentenced in 2015, she was no longer running the trucking and real estate businesses, but she was sure that wasn’t the end of her journey as a business owner. Upon returning home from prison after being sentenced to 51 months, she knew it was time to make a change. “I had goals when I went to prison and I made sure I still had those goals when I came out. I knew when my criminal background affected me the way it did that I had to help others,” Myles noted.

In 2019, after hearing about Inmates to Entrepreneurs from her sister and later seeing billboards for the Brian Hamilton Foundation, Myles decided to register for her local eight-week course. “I thought this would be a great program to take for several reasons. One, I love entrepreneurship and two, I was still on supervised release and had to participate in continuing education classes with the halfway house reentry program. I thought this would be a great fit.” The group met once a week for eight weeks, with a graduation at the last class.

Using the entrepreneurial mindset she’s always had, Myles decided she wanted to pass along her skills to help others find gainful employment or to become entrepreneurs themselves. Myles now serves as the Founder and Executive Director of The Redemption Project, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to bringing world class training and job placement assistance to justice involved individuals and underserved communities. The Redemption Project helps with IT training, business development, financial literacy, successful reentry, and more.

Myles has big goals for the organization, including job placement for every participant. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Myles said. “No matter what barriers or obstacles are in front of you, you have to persevere. But to persevere you have to learn new skills and use all resources available. You have to invest in you.”

Inmates to Entrepreneurs’ free video course “Starter U: How to Start, Run, and Grow a Business” is available online and on Edovo’s tablets in correctional facilities across the US. The organization also provides in person courses throughout NC and online classes available nationwide.

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