Poverty to jail to success.

When Coss Marte was growing up, drugs were everywhere. His family was poor, dressing him in his sisters’ hand-me-downs to save money. His ultimate dream was to become rich—to break the cycle of poverty that embarrassed him and kept him from living out his dreams. And so he tried to get rich in the only way he knew how: by selling drugs.

He was thirteen years old the first time he was arrested. Nine more arrests followed over the next ten years. Coss spend 60% of that decade in jail. After a few weeks in solitary confinement, Coss received a letter from his sister, telling him to read Psalm 91. He did, and his perspective shifted. Rather than take from the world, he wanted to give.

Give, he did. When he got out of prison, Coss started a non-profit called Defy Ventures. Its mission is to help ex-cons start their own businesses. As Coss puts it, “I’m now giving others the opportunity to be treated as humans and break down barriers between ex-convicts and the general population.”


As simple as it sounds, Coss learned from his failure. We taped an entire episode on the topic. Check it out today.

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