HMP Thorn Cross prisoners pitch business ideas to 'Dragons' Den' pane; – Warrington Guardian

WARRINGTON prisoners were given a rare opportunity to launch their own business.
Inmates at HMP Thorn Cross pitched their business ideas to a ‘Dragons’ Den’ panel as part of a ground-breaking scheme to steer them away from crime.
They bid for start-up funding at the unique event inside the open prison and proposals included a graphic design consultancy and a personal fitness business.
The winner was announced by Prisons Minister Damian Hinds and received a grant of £400 – backed by Entrepreneurs Unlocked – which will support them in getting their business off the ground upon release.
Runners-up were also awarded £300 each.
Mr Hinds said: “Getting ex-prisoners into work cuts reoffending and makes our streets safer.
“Entrepreneurship drives our economy and can provide a promising path for those who are ready to turn their lives around. It is heartening to see prisoners demonstrate the skills needed to succeed in business and life.”
The event, which took place in Global Entrepreneurship Week, is the culmination of a 12-week course run by charity Entrepreneurs Unlocked which aims to give prisoners an insight into the realities of running a business. 
Attendees at the event heard from a range of inspiring ex-offenders who have been successful in setting up their own businesses.
These included H.M.Pasties, a start-up that works to ‘bring out the good inside’ by employing ex-offenders to make and sell pasties.
Entrepreneurs Unlocked founder David Morgan said: “The Hidden Entrepreneur event is the first of event of its kind to showcase the entrepreneurial talent of people in prison.
“We will highlight this pathway for people that not only reduces the risk of re-offending but also demonstrates the social and economic value of entrepreneurship.
“I am grateful to HMP Thorn Cross for allowing us to host the event, to all of our speakers for sharing their inspirational stories, and to all the businesses who joined us as together we can really make a difference in people’s lives by supporting them on their new entrepreneurial pathway.”
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