Livia Cox ’22 and Nick Wells ’20 (pictured) are recipients of a $5,000 seed grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. They presented their project, Opioid Harm Reduction and Education Initiative, to a panel of judges on Feb. 28. “The rate of death due to opioid overdose in Connecticut is twice the national average,” Wells said. “We provide resources and education to combat opioid overdose in high-risk communities across Connecticut, and we’re starting right here in Middlesex County.” Both EMTs, Cox and Wells form partnerships with local community leaders and offer socioculturally-attuned training, naloxone (NARCAN) dissemination, and other grassroots prevention and rehabilitation measures.
On March 2, three student-run enterprises received
$5,000 seed grants from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE). The unrestricted funding is accompanied with training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.
These $5,000 awards are intended to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Projects or ventures must address a social problem; be sustainable, scalable, and/or replicable; and have a potential for impact. Entries can be for-profit, nonprofit, hybrid, or have no legal structure.
On Feb. 28, six finalists pitched their ventures to judges and members of the Board of Trustees.
The 2020 PCSE Seed Grant winners include:
Other finalists include:
Photos of the finalist pitches are below. (Photos by Olivia Drake)
Inayah Bashir ’20 pitched her venture, Mental Wealth Consulting. The organization aims to expand conversations about mental wellness and mindfulness by offering professional development, restorative workshops and community programming, and curricular resources such as activities and classes. “Our programming fosters resilience, wellness, and mental wealth,” Bashir explained. Grant funds would be used for hiring a mindfulness/yoga instructor, supporting program materials, and providing a stipend for student ambassadors.
Ahmed Badr ‘20, who defines himself as an “Iraqi, Muslim refugee,” garnered support for his organization, Narratio. Narratio activates, supports, and highlights the creative expression of displaced young people through publishing, fellowships, workshops, and partnerships. To date, Narratio has helped young people publish more than 100 poems, stories, artwork, and photographs, and produced five magazines based on contributions by displaced youth in the Ritsona Refugee Camp in Greece.
Livia Cox explained her hopes to equip high-risk communities with naloxone, provide naloxone and overdose preparedness training, and make existing overdose recovery more human-centered.
Kyllian Pather ’20 presented his venture, Pather Education Development Initiative (PEDI). “Too many of South Africa’s greatest minds are robbed of their access to tertiary education,” Pather said. Through PEDI, Pather is working to help underprivileged high school students in South Africa access higher education opportunities. In 2019 he helped six students apply to and get accepted into universities. This year, Pather hopes to open a computer lab, offer a pre-college boot camp, and host workshops on applying to South African and American universities.
Ona Hauert ’20 creates sustainable, one-of-a-kind, wearable art curated around the simplicity of design, under the name ONA. Each garment is hand-dyed, painted, bleached or block-printed on vintage and up-cycled clothing. She launched the business in September 2019 and currently sells her clothing at flea markets and online. Ultimately, she’d like to lead wearable art workshops and “build a community around sustainable art,” she said.
William Huestis ’22 and Michael Eustace ’22 (pictured) presented their venture Sustainable Surfing Products. The web-based business acts as an intermediary for consumers and producers by placing eco-friendly surf products in one easy-to-access location. “We sell solely sustainable surfing products,” Eustace said. “We want to make it easier for customers to find and purchase eco-friendly surf products.”