By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel
Published in: Santa Cruz Sentinel Business
Alumnus Ned LeBlond (C15) enters the startup world as a social entrepreneur with his new venture EquityStone (@EquityStone). A social non-profit public-private partnership connecting homeowners to ideal renters to help pay their mortgages. Ned is tackling the affordable housing shortage by meeting the needs of homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage, and long-term renters forced to move as rents rise. He believes that this will have an overall positive impact in the county's economy overall.
Alumna Valéria Miranda (C10) started Food for Change to train and create jobs for formerly incarcerated people. Valéria sees food at transformational and healing. Those formerly incarcerated face a challenging life, especially when it comes to their professional lives. She has been a teacher volunteer at County Jail for three years, and has come to understand that people who are in jail don't have the work history or skills to enter, or rejoin, the already competitive job market. She intends to change that cycle and create opportunities for those who want to change their stars.
EquityStone and Food for Change were both chosen to participate in the Santa Cruz social accelerator. This three-month program helps new social ventures develop their idea and business case to become scalable enterprises.
Congratulations Ned & Valéria! PGS is excited to see how you will take your new ventures to the next level and continue to make positive changes in our world.
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