Defy Ventures transforms the lives of business leaders and people with criminal histories through their collaboration along the entrepreneurial journey.

We harness the natural talents of currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, and youth and redirect them toward the creation of legal business ventures and careers. Defy offers a suite of services that includes intensive personal and leadership development, competition-based entrepreneurship training, executive mentoring, financial investment, and business incubation. By engaging top corporate executives, investors, and entrepreneurs nationally, Defy catalyzes broad scale personal and economic opportunities for people with criminal histories, and shatters perceptions of one of the most stigmatized and overlooked populations in America.

Q Defy NorCal Photo.jpg

Qa’id Aqeel

Post-Release Program Manager

Kirsten S pic.jpg

Kirsten Shulley

Prison Program Associate


DeJuan Lewis

Program Director

gaye pic.jpg

Gaye Freedman

Prison Program Associate

Maria Defy NorCal Photo.jpg

Maria Herrera

Prison Program Associate