Part of what it means for RMMFI to break down barriers and create pathways for entrepreneurs includes encouraging those entrepreneurs to advocate on behalf of themselves and their communities.
On June 17, Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 21-1215, an expansion of the Justice Reinvestment Crime Prevention Initiative. The initiative, originally created in 2017, is a community-led program that combines direct service grants aimed at reducing crime and recidivism with small business loans to promote economic development. The updated version adds Grand Junction and Trinidad to the North Aurora and Southeast Colorado Springs pilot sites and creates a new statewide program to provide business and entrepreneurship training to Returning Citizens.
RMMFI is proud to have provided testimony in support of this bill, and we’re even more proud of the advocacy of RMMFI graduate Danny Ballesteros (owner of Quality from Colorado). With the support of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, Danny testified in front of both the Colorado House and Senate, sharing his story as an example of what’s possible when inclusive pathways to business ownership exist.
We’re optimistic about the impact this expanded initiative will have, especially with its emphasis on comprehensive training and support in addition to small business loans. Danny often says that he wants to be a positive influence in his community, and he is doing just that by using his experience to promote relevant and accessible opportunities for Returning Citizens across Colorado.