It’s part of our company culture to support the communities in which we work and live. This ideology stems from the compassion of Edison’s founders Jeremy Ostermiller and Nick Stanitz-Harper. Many spend their lives thinking and doing things for themselves. Not so much with Jeremy and Nick. The successful entrepreneurs are continually helping organizations with volunteering and/or making contributions.

Nick Stanitz-Harper with EIT, Ron L.

One of their most recent volunteering efforts was with Defy Colorado. Defy Colorado is a nonprofit organization that helps former and current inmates to prosper by creating legal businesses and careers. They spent nearly eight hours volunteering at Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) with inmates, also known as Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EIT).

From the high-five welcome, business pitch competition to learning about the immersive nine month “CEO of your new life” program, Nick and Jeremy both had a meaningful and rewarding experience with the EITs.

EITs welcoming volunteers from Defy Colorado

They were mostly impressed by the EITs during the business competition. Each EIT were required to develop a business plan requiring a max $20,000 initial investment that would be cash flow positive in the first 90 days. They were astounded with the EITs presentation skills but more so that the EITs had to do all the research without the internet.

Nick Stanitz-Harper and Jeremy Ostermiller with EITs

After the EITs families arrived and several heart-warming, life-changing speeches, the EITs graduated and received Certificates of Entrepreneurship from Colorado State University—where Ostermiller and Stanitz-Harper are alumni.

EIT graduation ceremony

It has been found that people who participate in prison-based education or vocational prison programs have higher employment rates and are less likely to recidivate upon release than nonparticipants. To get involved, here are some helpful links to get involved with Defy Colorado and Defy Ventures:



Photo courtesy: Defy Colorado and Photographer, Drew Carlson

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