Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program

In the spring of 2015, Dr. Charlotte Ren launched and served as founding faculty director of a new program: Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP), which was geared towards helping formerly incarcerated individuals to become entrepreneurs, participate in civic engagement, and advocate for social justice.

Currently led by Dr. Chao Guo, PREP offers a small group of previously incarcerated people 10 weeks of intensive training on how to start and run a small business. This intensive curriculum training is included as part of a Special Topics course (SWRK 7980) entitled “The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Reintegration.” Participants are chosen based on survey and interview results and are taught by select students from various schools at Penn who are enrolled in the course. After the curriculum training, PREP provides a support system, including consulting, registration help, possible funding opportunities, and civic engagement and policy advocacy activities, to help budding entrepreneurs turn business ideas into reality.

Valuable as they are, most of the existing reintegration programs have focused on job placement as the main route, but these reintegration efforts have not lived up to our expectations. Through PREP, we hope to develop and demonstrate a sustainable and replicable model to effectively transition formerly incarcerated individuals back to the community.

The launch of PREP is made possible with strong and persistent support from the Penn School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2). It also benefits tremendously from its field partner—Rescue Mission of Trenton—and several partners at Penn, including the SP2 Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI) and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. The Rescue Mission of Trenton, a 105-year-old public charity located in Trenton, New Jersey, provides a variety of support services to formerly and currently incarcerated individuals.

For more information about this program, please watch this short video.

THE problem

The Problem

our model

Our Model

our team

Our Team

Professor Charlotte Ren, PhD
Founding and Former Faculty Director, PREP

Charlotte Ren is Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Fox School of Business, Temple University. She’s also a Senior Fellow at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously she taught at Purdue University and the University of Pennsylvania. Charlotte has a Ph.D. in Management and an M.A. in Economics from UCLA, a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics and a minor degree in Law from Peking University (China).

Charlotte’s research interests focus on two areas, competitive strategy, and innovation & entrepreneurship. Charlotte is published in the field’s leading academic journals such as Management Science, the Journal of Management, and the Strategic Management Journal. Her paper “the Rise and Fall of Entrepreneurial Opportunities inside Organizations: A Process Model for Corporate Entrepreneurship” received the IDEA Award from the Entrepreneurship Division of the 2008 Academy of Management Conference. In 2015, she designed and launched Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program while at Penn. Charlotte received the 2017 Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award from the Academy of Management for “The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Reintegration,” a course that she had developed for PREP.

Professor Chao Guo, PhD
Faculty Director, PREP

Chao Guo is Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management in the School of Social Policy and Practice, Associate Faculty Director of Fox Leadership International, and Faculty Director of the International Master of Public Administration (I-MPA) program, all at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also founding co-director of the China Institute for Philanthropy and Social Innovation at Renmin University of China. He serve as Editor-in-Chief of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the premier journal in the field. He has a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Renmin University of China.

Chao’s interests are in nonprofit governance, collaboration within and across sectors, technology and nonprofit advocacy, and social entrepreneurship. His award-winning research includes the 2014 text, Social Entrepreneurship: An Evidence-Based Approach to Creating Social Value (Wiley; co-authored with Wolfgang Bielefeld). He is currently working on his second book titled The Quest for Attention: Nonprofit Advocacy in a Social Media Age (under contract with Stanford University Press; co-authored with Gregory D. Saxton).

Tom Duffin, PhD
Executive Director, PREP

Tom Duffin

Tom Duffin is a lecturer at Bryn Mawr College, Villanova University, and the Copenhagen Business School. He teaches Social Policy at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research where he completed his PhD and Master of Law and Social Policy degrees. He also completed his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology at Villanova University.

Tom recently retired from a long career in financial services industry where he served as a Certified Financial Planner and First Vice President at Wells Fargo Advisors. Tom teaches Social Impact Entrepreneurship for Villanova University at a class held in SCI Phoenix, a maximum security men’s prison. He also teaches courses in the summer program at the Copenhagen Business School on Social Impact Finance and Investments. Tom serves on the advisory council of the Social Justice Initiative at Bryn Mawr College wherein they advocate for community-based alternatives to youth incarceration. Tom also volunteers at Project HOME where he provides free one-on-one financial advice to people from underserved communities.Tom and his wife, Janice, are the proud parents of two fine young men, Tommy and Sean.

Rose Brown
PREP Donor Relations Coordinator

Rose Brown

Rose Brown is a full time Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. Her research interests include homeless advocacy, women’s empowerment, colorism in the African American community, and human service organizations. Prior to entering the Nonprofit Leadership program, Rose created Feeding the Heart and Soul of America, which focuses on encouraging and inspiring communities in need to reach their personal goals, from both professional and mental health perspectives. Feeding the Heart and Soul of America coordinates Everyone’s Birthday parties for children, college tours for men and women, and pageants for women, all of whom face homelessness. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology as well as her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Casey May
PREP Donor Relations Coordinator

Casey May

Casey May is a dual degree masters student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She is working toward a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership and a Master of Social Work. Casey currently interns at the Uplift Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia, where she is working on program development, fundraising, database management, and developing trauma-informed clinical skills. Casey received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University.