Recently the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship finished a major project they had been working on for several months. Self-Help Inspired People LLC (SHIP) came to the IJ Clinic last year with a compelling idea for bringing employment and stability to the lives of ex-offenders through entrepreneurship. They had tough questions about how a sustainable and profitable business arrangement could be successfully accomplished. Their goal was to set up a business for local farms on the South Side of Chicago. SHIP stakeholders were very enthusiastic but were hesitant to make investments in this urban farmers’ market venture because they didn’t have a model for the governance and operations of such an entity.
This is where the IJ Clinic stepped in to fill in this missing piece. Two of our IJ Clinic students, Laura Ebberson, '09, and George Houhanisin, '10, spent months working with SHIP counseling, researching and drafting the necessary corporate documents to make this dream a reality. SHIP’s LLC operating agreement has been signed and they have taken the first steps towards executing their business plan for setting up these urban farms and bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to the area from these local farms. It will be great to have an apple or tomato that has been grown just blocks away. The IJ Clinic experienced firsthand how the positive force of entrepreneurship to empower under-served communities can be unleashed through zealous and creative transactional legal representation.
Here is a photo from the triumphant day when the agreement was signed.