3 Student Ventures Win $5,000 Patricelli Seed Grants
Each year since 2013, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) awards three $5,000 grants to students creating a social impact through business ventures. This year, PCSE Seed Grants were awarded Handom (Aldrean Alogon ’23 and Leonard Majaducon ’25), Nebula (Kya Lloyd ’22 and Jahmir Duran-Abreu ’20), and Outspoken (Akansha Singh ’23).
From a mentorship program for students in the Philippines, to a digital marketplace for black entrepreneurs, to an online literacy program for women and girls in rural India, this year’s winning projects are shaping their communities in unique ways.
Each year since 2013, the PCSE awards three $5,000 grants to students creating a social impact through business ventures. This year, the recipients are Handom (Aldrean Alogon ’23 and Leonard Majaducon ’25); Nebula (Kya Lloyd ’22 and Jahmir Duran-Abreu ’20), and Outspoken (Akansha Singh ’23).
On Feb. 25, six finalists presented in front of a group of judges via Zoom. The winners were then announced on Feb. 28.
“All of the seed grant applicants are not only leading ventures that will positively impact their target beneficiaries, but they are also contributing to the vibrancy of the Wesleyan experience,” PCSE Director Makaela Kingsley said. “They are role models for other students who have an idea that they dream about bringing to life. They offer experiential learning opportunities for undergrads who join their teams or collaborate with them. And they are showing us all how to connect theory to practice—to turn critical thinking into entrepreneurial thinking, and to create value outside academia.”
Handom builds connections between educational resources and underserved elementary school students in the Philippines through a mentorship program. The organization pairs students with tutors who can not only serve as role models but also connect the students with resources and prepare them for local scholarships.
“This project is very close to my heart,” Algon said. “My mom was an elementary school principal and she loved teaching little kids. After she passed away was only when I realized that her advocacy was extremely impactful. She believed in education. I was a little kid in a poor, agricultural town, but because of my mom and my family, I got connected to resources that are just marginally better than what my peers had. I cannot stand the fact that there could be little kids out there who [have] a great chance to be successful, but because of their circumstance, will just be trapped in the poverty loop their parents are in. I am starting with my hometown in Sigma, but the dream is that we could expand this into other poor and rural communities in the Philippines.”
Nebula aims to provide a digital marketplace to empower black entrepreneurs, as black-owned businesses are four times more likely to fail in the first 18 months than white ones due to structural racial inequalities. Nebula’s model includes online resources for black business owners and a fund to support black business ventures.
“The next steps for Nebula include website design, and planning a curriculum to share with Black creative entrepreneurs,” Lloyd explained. “We also will need to continue raising funding, so we are working on telling our brand’s story and conveying our message to others. This project matters to me because Black businesses fail at a high rate compared to white businesses, and Black creative entrepreneurs face roadblocks when seeking funds. I want to help educate Black creatives who want to create a business out of something they are passionate about so that they can become their own bosses, define success for themselves, and have more control over their art and time. I have learned so much from this grant process including how to better structure my ideas, how to present my ideas, and how to accept criticism and use it to make improvements in my business plan.”
Outspoken addresses illiteracy for girls and women in rural India with an online platform designed to teach English literacy interactively through the language basics, as well its everyday and professional uses, and as a tool for activism and awareness.
“Funding is such a huge part,” Singh said. “We’re currently looking to finish the final level of video creation [and] animation scripting, and that requires a lot of financial resources.”
The other finalists include Wesleyan Malagasy Educational Supplies Studio (WesMESS) (Rachel Wachman ’24, Jayne Chen ’24, and Margaret Fitch ’22), i connect Africa (Prosper Ndebele ’25, Christine Butawo ’25, Deborah-Gifty Lalude ’25), and Nailepu Girls’ Empowerment (Diana Kimojino ’25).