Citybiz Interview: Ajit Mathew George, Founder and CEO of Second Chances Farm


Ajit Mathew George

Ajit Mathew George is a serial entrepreneur, creative marketer, veteran TEDx organizer, food and wine aficionado, philanthropist and certified Dream Builder™ Life Coach who divides his time between Wilmington, Delaware and Virgin Gorda, BVI. He has over 40 years of experience in creative marketing, strategic planning, and business development in various arenas from broadcasting and events to non-profits and real estate development.

Ajit is the founder of  Second Chances Farm, LLC, an organization focused on hiring and giving turn-key entrepreneurial opportunities to people returning from prison after serving their sentences through the creation of indoor, vertical farms – or “plant factories.” Second Chances plans to produce organic produce, year-round, in local communities and minimize the carbon footprint of transporting produce.

Through Magic Dust, LLC, he helps organizations and individuals build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more fulfilling lives through Life Coaching, strategic marketing, and event planning. Ajit has sprinkled his “magic dust” to create tons of magical events like First Night Wilmington, Meals from the Masters, Virgin Islands Winemakers Dinners, MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival, and TEDx Wilmington. As the Organizer of TEDxWilmington, Ajit has also produced 32 TEDx events in Delaware since 2012, featuring 486 speakers who have given 466 TEDx talks that have attracted over 16.5 million views.

Prior to going into the private sector in 1980, Ajit was Director of Marketing and Membership Services for WHYY in Philadelphia, where he raised millions of dollars for public TV and radio. He also served as Managing Director of Nail Bay Resort in Virgin Gorda. Between 1980 and 2010, he was actively involved in real estate development including acquisition, construction, historic renovations, marketing, sales, and property management in the Delaware Valley and the British Virgin Islands.

Over the years, Ajit has volunteered thousands of hours for various non-profit organizations in both the U.S. and the BVI including being the Founding Chairman of Meals on Wheels Delaware and the BVI Charitable Fund. He has served as Chairman of the Governor's Council on Family Services, General Convener of Delaware Futures, and President of the Kiwanis Foundation and Kiwanis Club of Wilmington. He was awarded the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award of Delaware in 1994, The Jefferson Award in 2002 and 2003 for his work with the YWCA and Meals on Wheels, and The Award for Outstanding Philanthropic Service from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2007. He is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Wilmington, Delaware a former charter member of the Rotary Club Sunrise of Road Town, BVI, and received the Paul Harris Award by Rotary International from the Rotary Club of Tortola in 2006. Ajit served on the Board of Directors for the BVI Tourist Board.

Ajit was born to Indian parents, brought up in Kuwait, and moved to the U.S. at age 16 where he attended the University of Delaware and received his undergraduate and graduate degree in organization development from Antioch University. He is a passionate gardener who has planted over 1,500 plants at Sunset Watch Villa, his home in Virgin Gorda.


Second Chances Farm is a commercial, hydroponic, indoor vertical farm that grows chemical- and pesticide-free leafy greens, herbs and pharmaceutical-grade hemp. We also grow people — our farm employees — whom we call “agripreneurs.”

We use exclusively formerly incarcerated persons as our farm workforce, and provide them with mentoring, life skills and job training. In this way, we provide one solution to the epidemic of recidivism -- up to 75 percent within five years -- supplying gainful employment to individuals whose job prospects are limited by their prison records.

We call these former inmates “returning citizens,” and they initially spend four months with us. After that, some stay on with our one-year Entrepreneurs in Residence program where they receive a pay raise and full benefits, and receive continual mentoring and training to learn business skills.

We deliver our clean vegetables and herbs throughout northern Delaware and adjoining areas of Pennsylvania and Maryland. By concentrating our sales locally, we can deliver produce with 48 hours of harvesting, at peak taste, nutrition and freshness. Moreover, we eliminate the need for long distance shipping and its associated damaging carbon footprint. Our processes eliminate the use of toxic chemicals while using 90 percent less water than traditional soil-based farming.

Second Chances Farm is a Qualified Opportunity Fund and a Delaware Public Benefit Limited Liability Company.

Wills Elliman joined the firm in 2001. Active in CoreNet Global both locally and nationally, he earned his Masters of Corporate Real Estate (MCR) in 2004. Mr. Elliman has also earned the SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors) and CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designations.

Mr. Elliman provides an integrated approaches to representing Fortune 500 corporations, law firms, and institutional landlords in the acquisition and disposition of corporate real estate assets. Major projects have included lease acquisitions and dispositions, multi-market relocations, lease auditing, strategic planning, occupancy cost reduction strategies and advanced lease renewals. Since each client is unique, he uses a comprehensive process-driven approach in evaluating all solutions. Each project includes an in-depth analysis of each client’s current situation/needs and a total market overview in order to effectively evaluate all alternatives for optimal results.

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