Convicted felons in Atlanta, GA, will now have a chance at a new start, thanks to the efforts of entrepreneur Chad Dillon.
Making A Difference
The 31-year-old CEO and Founder of The Boiler Seafood Atlanta wanted to help his community beyond the restaurant walls.
Recognizing those near and dear to his heart have been incarcerated or faced potential felonies, he wanted to create a gateway for others in similar situations to find success.
Dillon launched a business plan pitch competition, emulating ABC’s “Shark Tank” for the members of the Metro-Atlanta Reentry Prison’s – Aces Program.
“I started the competition because I knew I wanted to impact my community in a way bigger than food! I understand that some people who make bad decisions are not bad people,” Dillon told AfroTech in an e-mail interview. “Some of my closest friends and family members have been incarcerated or faced potential felonies for one bad decision. I know if they applied the knowledge, tools, pertinent business ideas, and success to reentry and business, they can have the ultimate potential to be successful if they apply themselves.”
Over $10K Being Awarded
To set up participants for success and fuel their entrepreneurship journey, five participants received $2,000, according to a press release.
The recipients were selected by Dillon, former NFL player and philanthropist, Frank Murphy; Pastor and Philanthropist, Trell Web; ViaPath Technologies CEO, Deb Alderson; and VP of Reintegration and Community Engagement, Tony Lowden.
The additional participants received $1,000 to help get their business up and running once their sentence is complete.
“This competition is really a passion for me! When asked how I would like to contribute to society I really wanted to know how I could support the incarcerated community and convicted felons,” Dillon said. “With all the crime going on in the world and in Atlanta specifically, I wanted to do something that would assist in reducing crime and show these men that with commitment and applied knowledge, they can be successful. I have not only presented these gentlemen with money but also, I look forward to providing solutions and knowledge for these men to re-enter society and establish legitimate business concepts, along with business mentorship.”
New Restaurants To Employ Convicted Felons
Dillon and Lowden plan to reach more prisons by scaling the business competition nationally, and that’s not all.
In addition to scaling, Dillon plans to open five new restaurants in Atlanta that will employ convicted felons. He plans to provide mentorship and share business insights and opportunities to encourage a new way of living.