My Start-Up

Employment has been identified as a leading component in promoting successful reintegration post incarceration, positive mental health and leading a fulfilling life in the community. However, securing paid employment with a criminal record is not easy, to say the least. Women feel stigmatized and discredited when approaching prospective employers.

There is hope. Research has identified that behaviours common among incarcerated individuals coupled with the experience of surviving the criminal justice system are aligned with the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. 

New to Elizabeth Fry Toronto is My Start-Up: Women’s Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with Rise Asset Development at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.  

Each year, 22 women will be accepted into this inspiring and distinguished program.

First cohort is at the tail end of learning.  Seventeen women have graduated and will be meeting monthly for support sessions.

Next cohort will be in late 2019, with specific dates not determined just yet.  

To ensure a spot for the next cohort, complete an expression of interest form so we can begin communicating with you.

You can....


Susan is a public speaker, educating people about the criminal justice system and legal rights. She exudes confidence and speaks with passion. It is hard to imagine that just a year ago, Susan was struggling with low self-esteem and was extremely shy. After a long history of incarceration, Susan was determined to change her life for the better. Susan joined the Peer Leadership program and developed public speaking skills, connected with positive role models and built her confidence. Susan is now a community educator, has re-connected with her family and is mentoring new members of the Peer Leadership program.