I just spent 3 ½ hours moderating and judging the semi-finals of a business plan competition held by a company called Defy Ventures
This is not your typical venture capital company because they don’t have a fund that invests in start-ups. In fact, none of the money they will invest will have a financial return in the normal sense of the word.
As the name suggests, Defy is looking to make the impossible possible and seeks to find the miraculous.
Defy is an incubator for individuals that have recently been incarcerated and are set on launching their own company. Many time business plans are birthed inside their cells.
It’s truly a transformation. Only 3 to 6 months earlier some of the individuals were only known as a number…their confidence at an all time low…filled with shame…
And now they are pitching to investment bankers, venture capitalists, branding experts, entrepreneurs, and legal experts…all of whom are volunteers…wanting these so-called underdogs to win
Because, where they see fear in exposing their history and shortcomings in front of successful people, I see courage…and it gives me hope
Where they see shame, I see an incredible opportunity to tell a story of breakthrough and overcoming the impossible…and it excites me
When they are tired of the battle, I see incredible persistence and it helps me fight one more day to grow my company
Defy Ventures’ recidivism rates are between 2-3% for anyone who has been in the program. It defies all expectations.
Whatever stage you’re at in business, you need to be all over the numbers. In posts like this, we aim to offer bite-size food for thought – but in a few hundred words, we can only do so much.
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