Priya Baskaran is a Professor of Law, Director of the Entrepreneurship Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, and an advocate for economic justice incubators. She talks with Jon Wainwright on this week’s podcast about her ideas for how to better reintegrate returning citizens – people reentering society after serving time in the criminal justice system – into society and helping them become enfranchised economic citizens.
Incubators are not a new concept. Neither are municipal incubators that are funded by tax dollars and focused on supporting small businesses in the community. Professor Baskaran’s novel take on the concept is to have municipal incubators that think in terms of economic justice rather than just ROI. Essentially, reentering citizens – and even people living in perpetually economically depressed zip codes – are forced into entrepreneurship of necessity. They hustle and work multiple gigs because traditional avenues of employment are cut off to them. Priya’s vision for economic justice incubators would be for cities and localities to invest dollars and wrap-around support services into these already existing small businesses – the cleaning service that two or three women are already running out their home, the would-be barber who has his license but wants to grow from cutting hair in his garage to having a shop of his own – and help move these people from hustling to survive to hustling to potentially build wealth.
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