Sooody Tronson was among nearly 50 Bay Area executives and professionals packed into a gymnasium last week at the state prison in Solano County and lined up, toe to toe, with a row of convicted criminals.
“Learning that you can still dream, and maybe even achieve those dreams — that’s powerful” – The program is organized by Defy Ventures, an entrepreneurship, employment, and character training blended online program for people with criminal histories.
Defy recognizes that many former drug dealers and gang leaders can become successful, legal entrepreneurs. We “transform the hustle” of our formerly incarcerated Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) by offering intensive leadership development, Shark Tank-style business plan competitions, executive mentoring, financial investment, and startup incubation. We offer our EITs a legitimate chance to succeed and equip them to become profitable entrepreneurs, stellar employees, engaged parents, and committed role models and leaders in their communities. We intentionally build life-giving, authentic community between EITs and our executive volunteers as they bond in their humanity.
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Releasing Confidence: Prison Entrepreneurship Programs Offer Path, SF Chronicle Article
Inmates Pitch Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists From Prison, San Jose Mercury News