Entrepreneur wins $20K for business in Detroit

Steed Media
Steed Media

Brian Hill is an entrepreneur and CEO of his business product called Jail Education Solutions. On Thursday, July 9, 2015, Hill participated in the Miller Lite live pitch program, Tap the Future as one of five semifinalists in Detroit, all competing for a chance to win $20,000 and advance to the final round of the program as a finalist pitching to win $200,000.

During his pitch, Hill expressed his passion for educating inmates and victims of the correction system as well as his solution for educating prisoners to help ease their transitions back into society upon their release from the penitentiary. Hill pitched his invention of a technological platform that comes loaded on a small tablet and provides prisoners with access to educational and vocational programs and courses for minimal cost. With access to a vast amount of educational resources in a format that is easy to access, navigate and is also made of materials that are safe for inmates, Hill is confident that this will unlock the potential of millions of incarcerated people. Hill has already had a great deal of success with his jail education solution and is working diligently with the Federal Communications Commission to get his device inside as many prisons as he can.

He spoke with rolling out about the future of his company.

What did you learn from the live pitch?

Every live pitch or presentation really helps you think critically about what the most important things are regarding your business. When the Q-and-A happens, I think that’s even more powerful because you see questions that really drive you to think about things that you haven’t really thought about in a while. I think it’s really important for early stage companies to be thinking about every aspect of their business.

How did you prepare to pitch?

The most important preparation that we have, I think, involves the passion and the traction that we have in our market. More than anything, when you’re presenting to a group of people who are interested in helping you with your business, you have to make sure that you actually have a product that’s working and in the market. Knowing your market is more important than practicing your speech.

How has the Tap the Future program changed or influenced your business mentality?

I think for us, Tap the Future has really opened us up to a whole other group of partnerships that may be interested in helping this cause. What it’s really made us think about is how we can find people who wouldn’t normally be thinking about the incarceration problem and bring them in to kind of support the cause with us. This would be incredibly instrumental in helping us reach broader audiences in the future.

Name one thing you learned from “The Shark” Daymond John tonight?
The thing that Daymond John said several times and that is really critical is that you have to start small and inexpensive. You have to work through your concepts — the idea before you spend a ton of money. ‘Prove your idea and get the traction’ is really the most important thing that Daymond has taught me.

Hill’s pitch was well received by the audience and judges, thus making him the winner of $20,000 in seed money to support the growth and development of his business. Visit www.jaileducationsolutions.com for more information.

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