The Last Mile is an incubator program at San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco. It works like a traditional program for startups, training selected inmates to build their employment skills.
Founded by Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti, the entrepreneurship course takes place during twice-weekly sessions over six months. Information and practical experiences are provided to increase the inmantes knowledge about the role of social media, build their communication, business and operations skills, and foster a sense of hope that they can succeed when they are released.
Participants read books by digital media experts and interact with guest speakers from technology companies. Unlike most entrepreneurs and startups, the inmates don’t have ready access to technology, and some have never used a smartphone. But the program teaches them the principles of startups and at the end of the course they have a demo day to present their ideas.
Each participant must conceive a business idea and create a plan that includes a technology component and social cause, which they present as a five-minute pitch to a live audience of invited guests and fellow inmates.