Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. You have successfully emailed the post. Defy Ventures business Pitch Ideas a nonprofit that helps prisoners start thriving businesses. It gives inmates the tools to use their sense of hustle in more productive ways. Coss Marte is 31 years old.
His story of success is similar to that of many CEOs, except for one key detail. Marte didn’t start his business in grad school. Marte is a graduate of Defy Ventures, a nonprofit that connects prisoners with professional mentors to help them start businesses that can thrive once they get released back into society, in a six-month program known as “CEO of Your New Life. On a recent Tuesday at Wallkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York, the program was about to reach its natural end for 25 “entrepreneurs-in-training,” or EITs. Defy avoids using the term “inmate. With dreams of becoming the next Coss Marte, the EITs pitched 50 executives on their ideas before a graduation ceremony honoring their achievement. Business Insider ventured inside Wallkill to see firsthand how the “Shark Tank”-style competition is granting second chances. Wallkill is a minimum security prison, but it still prohibits most electronic devices. Defy’s events took place free from cellphones and other buzzing and beeping distractions.
The day’s events began with Defy flipping the usual script. The welcome tunnel, typically formed by inmates, was instead made up of executives. The two groups immediately started networking with an icebreaker game. Once everyone was acclimated, Defy began the pitch competition. 100 IOUs for the idea that EITs and visiting families judged to be the best. After each EIT pitched his business, the executives deliberated to figure out who would move on to the semifinals. The 10 semifinalists included pitches for apparel and accessories, fitness and healthy food companies, a fleet of drones to survey crumbling infrastructure, and more. The semifinalists then pitched their ideas to even more executives, who logged their votes for the five finalists who would get to pitch the entire room from the stage. Once the semifinal pitches concluded, Hoke took a more serious tone.
Entrepreneurship is a major component of Defy, but Hoke was giving everyone a taste of the program’s other function: character building. Walking up and down the line, Hoke reinforced the idea that accepting defeat and harboring resentment is a choice. She encouraged everyone in the room, not just the EITs, to consider the power of forgiveness. It might be tough to own up to those challenges, she warned, but “Step to the Line” was about to make the 75 participants confront their demons firsthand. One by one, Hoke read off a list of statements. If the statement applied to the executives or EITs, they took a step forward onto the line dividing them. If not, they took a step back from the line. Hoke said the exercise is designed to build empathy between executives and EITs. Too often, she said, society wants to divide people based on their circumstances.
Step to the Line” is meant to bridge those differences and reveal what people may have in common. The list of statements was long, and emotionally difficult for many of those stepping forward or back. She called on people to confront when they felt like they lost their innocence, if they’d ever lost a child, whether their parents were violent or drug-addicted, and if they still carry shame for their pasts. One of Hoke’s final statements was “Today is the best day of my life,” to which almost every EIT stepped forward to the line. Hoke gave the room some time to recover before the final EITs delivered their pitches. Each pitch received a whooping standing ovation. Then came the vote, which was to be revealed after dinner and the ensuing graduation ceremony. Beyond just being a day for startup pitches, the competition also marked the culmination of six months of executive coaching and mentorship for the EITs, and a signal that they were ready to graduate from the program. All 25 men were about to receive a certificate of business administration from Baylor University.
Wearing “invisible caps and gowns,” as Hoke called them, the men filed into the room. Empire State of Mind” had been replaced by the more traditional “Pomp and Circumstance. He talked about his path through prison and the leg up Defy gave him. Marte told the story of creating one of New York City’s largest and most lucrative drug rings. 2 million a year and had two dozen employees selling drugs for him.
In prison, doctors told him he had five years to live because his cholesterol levels were so high. So he began working out, and then eventually training other inmates. When Defy came along, he committed himself to growing his new business to its full potential. As of earlier this year, annual revenue was roughly half a million dollars.
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As each EIT heard his name called and took the stage, the room erupted in celebration. But Hoke hadn’t forgotten about the pitch competition, which still needed a winner. The other four EITS on stage showered Cassato with applause and high-fives. People would walk by my room and say ‘What, are you talking to yourself? I’d say no, I’m practicing my pitch,” Cassato told the crowd in his acceptance speech.
I’m gonna take this out there and make something of it. Cassato credited Marte as one of his biggest inspirations, as both men strove to start companies that help people improve their health and fitness. Cassato said he’s going to stick with the Defy program as soon as he’s released, which, given the date of his parole hearing, could be as early as June 2018. Ex-convicts hoping to work with Defy can join its incubator program, which offers further business coaching outside of prison with help from venture capitalists.
As soon as I get out, within seven days I’m going to call ’em and I’m gonna go to every single meeting that they host,” he said. Suit and tie, I’ll be at every meeting. There’s authenticity just flowing through this experience,” Harrigan told Business Insider. Unlike many other meetup groups, where people aren’t actually interested in the other attendees, the Defy event seemed to genuinely connect people, he said. The experience also opened his eyes to how many breaks he’d received in his life — breaks the EITs may not have gotten. You can see so much unbridled energy and ability in them. It just hasn’t been trained and coached, or polished,” he said.
And that’s unfair, and I feel it. Hoke called the day a gift to the volunteers. It was her hope that people walked away feeling like they made a difference in the lives of the prisoners. It was also Hoke’s enduring hope that EITs, no matter how long their sentence, find the strength to forgive themselves for their past and feel like they have the means to seize their second chance. Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. Many of the most successful people in business today started out as teenage entrepreneurs.
For many teens, the realization that building something of your own beats working for “the man” comes to them naturally, but coming up with the right idea isn’t always easy. So here are 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Most can be started by anyone, and a few will require some specialized knowledge, but might get you on the right path or spark another idea, even if you don’t have that knowledge right now. Whatever business you decide to start, know this: if you’re a teen reading this post, you’re already far ahead of 90 percent of other people your age, and way ahead of the vast majority of people of any age.
To enter the world of entrepreneurship can be challenging at times, but those of us who do it know that all the hard work, setbacks, and challenges that come are nothing compared to the rewards of starting and growing your own business. So don’t let anything slow you down. If being in business for yourself is your dream, go for it with all you’ve got! Wherever you live, there are bound to be senior citizens who need help with errands.
The errands you’ll run can range from grocery shopping to picking up dry cleaning and going to the post office. If you don’t yet have wheels, there are plenty of ways to help seniors around the house too, like washing the car, making minor repairs, or helping out with yard work. As the fasted growing segment of the population, it makes a lot of business sense to serve seniors, and it will feel good to know you’re helping someone who really needs it. Have you ever walked past an open garage that was so cluttered with stuff the family couldn’t fit their car inside? Your startup costs will be minimal with this business – chances are you have most if not all of your supplies at home already. All you’ll need are a good push broom, some cleaning supplies and lots of elbow grease. To get customers, make up some flyers and go door-to-door around your neighborhood.
It might be intimidating at first, but before long, you’ll get your pitch down, and it will be well worth the effort. If you have a pickup, or know someone who has one and wants to be a partner, consider starting a haul-away service. Whether it’s in their back yard, in their garage, or under their stairs, people all over the world have lots of junk. Figure in the cost of gas, maintenance, and insurance on the vehicle you use when coming up with rates, and make sure to find out if your local dump charges to drop off there. Another great thing about this business is that what one person calls junk, another might want.
To market this business, go door to door, or post flyers at your local grocery store, or laundromat’s community bulletin board. Are you handy with all things mechanical? Can you take apart just about anything and put it back together? If you have the skills, some tools and a garage you can work in, there is a market for a small engine repair service. From lawn mowers to snow blowers, your neighbors are bound to have something they need fixed. For the price of a few flyers, you can be in business fast.
As you prove yourself, your customers are sure to tell others, and you’ll be busy as a professional tinkerer before you know it! Ok, so mowing lawns for the summer isn’t a very original idea. But who says you have to limit yourself in this category. Start out by mowing lawns in the summer and clearing snow in the winter, but rather than spending your earnings on the latest video game system or car stereo, use your revenue to expand your services to other kinds of yard work.
Trimming hedges, killing weeds, and planting flowerbeds are just a few of the services you could add, without spending much at all on additional equipment. As demand for your business grows, hire friends to help you out. Before you know it, you could be running a full-fledged landscaping business. If you’re in your teens, chances are very good you know your stuff when it comes to using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social networks. But did you know this stuff is big business?
There are entire consulting firms dedicated to helping their clients maximize their social media efforts, and some of them probably don’t have as much experience at it as you do. Step one is to find out all you can about using social media for business. There are tons of online resources for this, so that part’s a breeze. Next, decide what services you’ll offer and if you’ll specialize in a particular area – Facebook fan pages, for instance. Then get out there on social media and make it known that you’re available as a consultant. Also consider visiting local businesses that see the value in social media but might not know how to get started.
There is a huge market for this right now. You just have to plan it out and go for it! 100 in wax and equipment, anyone can be in business for themselves making candles. If you’re creative and willing to do the necessary legwork, you can do well as a candle maker, and you’ll have fun too. First, you’ll want to decide which kind of candles you want to make. There are beeswax candles, colored candles, scented candles, or aromatherapy candles, to name a few. Then you’ve got to decide where you’ll sell your finished candles.
Like candle making, this business is for those with a creative flare. It might take a little more to get started, both in money and know-how, but you don’t need tons of training, and if you use materials like beads and silver rather than gold and diamonds, starting a custom jewelry business doesn’t have to cost a lot. To get started, you can learn most of what you need to know from books on the subject. Then it’s a matter of practicing until you’re good.
This is one business where you really should have some training and a lot of practice to get started. Yes, there are many people out there calling themselves web designers who just use templates and have only a basic html background, but you don’t want to be one of those. The real money in this field is made by those who know what they’re doing. If it’s something that interests you, it won’t take that long to learn, and you can do very well from referrals and return business. And this is another business that can take you far beyond your high school years. Are you an expert in a particular area, like social media or high school algebra?