Barry University Partnership

Transforming the lives of women leaving prison through entrepreneurship.

LEAP’s partnership with the Barry University Entrepreneurial Institute at the Andreas School of Business is an integral part of the LEAP curriculum. A Barry University professor teaches the LEAP students how to start their own micro-business, and by the end of the program, each graduate has her own business plan. LEAP staff also works with the women so that they can effectively present their plan in a professional setting. These classes have not only helped LEAP graduates start their own small businesses, they have also supplied important business skills that have helped nearly all of our graduates find jobs with decent wages to support their families.


Tomislav Mandakovic, Dean, Barry University School of Business, says:

Teaching Entrepreneurship Basics for LEAP not only fulfills the University’s Core Commitments of Social Justice and Collaborative Service, but it also has an effect on the ladies’ vision of their future and their role in society.


Figures from our records seem to confirm that the LEAP program is arguably an effective tool to re-insert the incarcerated ladies into society:

  • The recidivism index (5.8%) is significantly smaller than the state of Florida historical values (between 30 and 40%).
  • 11% of released ladies have started their own business. The rest of them are already employed or pursuing a college education.


From my personal perspective, the LEAP-Barry undertaking is providing these ladies with hope and optimism for the future, encouraging them to take advantage of a second opportunity in life with the right tools. It is highly emotional to listen to their testimonies at graduation time and then later check the facts on how they develop their future.