For released participants in Houston and Dallas (and via the Internet), PEP hosts a weekly “eSchool” taught by executives, MBA candidates and university professors. Instructors cover a range of topics related to professional job development skills and entrepreneurship including: technology and website development, strategic thinking, marketing, leadership, time-management, communication, and finance & accounting skills.
An eSchool graduate who starts his small business qualifies for a $500 eSchool Completion Bonus from PEP in the form of a reimbursement for qualifying expenses. This money is provided to help with basic small business start-up costs like business cards, equipment and supplies. Through this program, participants have bought tools to start a variety of service oriented businesses. PEP entrepreneurs who have a need for more significant business funding have access to small business financing through PEP’s network of financial institutions and individual investors. PEP has also helped its graduates receive loans from the micro lender PeopleFund, as well as Kiva, a crowd-sourced, zero-interest lender.