Tag Archive for seed grants

Patricelli Center Awards Seed Grants to 3 Student-Led Ventures

AJ Wilson ’18 speaks about his project, Dream Catchers, which received a seed

AJ Wilson ’18 speaks about his organization, Dream Catchers, which received a $5,000 seed grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

On Feb. 27, three student-led social impact projects received a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship 2017 seed grant. The Patricelli Center will award these ventures with $5,000 each in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

Recipients were selected from a pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, parents, students, faculty and community partners. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact.

The 2017 Seed Grant recipients are:

Dream Chasers led by AJ Wilson ’18, Rhea Drozdenko ’18, Julian Payne and Celina Cotton is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to closing the academic and opportunity gaps in the South and Midwest through peer mentorship, events and workshops, and community engagement.

“Every student needs a peer mentor,” Wilson said. “We believe students need the ability to create, innovate, and work with and for their peers. We also believe students need a safe and nurturing environment that allows them to pursue any academic dream they desire. Our vision is for students to realize no dream is too large or too impossible to pursue.”

2016 Patricelli Center Seed Grant Winners Announced

Members of team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures that won a seed grant, presented their pitch before a live audience of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others. Presenting (from left to right) are Irvine Peck's-Agaya '18, Gabe Weinreb '18, Bashaun Brown, and Sara Eismont '18.

Members of the team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures awarded a seed grant, presented their pitch before members of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others. Presenting (from left to right) are Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18, Gabe Weinreb ’18, Bashaun Brown and Sara Eismont ’18.

Three social ventures started by Wesleyan students were recently awarded $5,000 seed grants in the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s annual Seed Grant Challenge. They are Kindergarten Kickstart, TRAP House and Walking Elephants Home.

The last weekend in February, all six finalists for the seed grants presented pitches for their ventures before the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and Seed Grant judges, as well as representatives of CT Innovations and the ‎State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, fellow students, and others. The event was also livestreamed. One of the other finalists, <Zim/Code>, chose to withdraw from the Seed Grant competition before selections were made, after the project received $10,000 from another funder.

The remaining finalists, Give Education and Pertiwi Initiative, were awarded smaller runner-up grants funded by members of the Board of Trustees who attended the pitches and believed all six teams were worthy of validation.

“This was the third year that we awarded seed grants in a pitch competition format,” said Makaela Kingsley, director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “I am always blown away by the finalists, and this year was no exception. From Becca Winkler’s thorough understanding of the environmental and cultural conditions in northern Thailand to Irvine Peck’s-Agaya’s deep personal commitment to her economic development work, every person who took that stage captured the audience’s attention and garnered their support. More than launching ventures, this process helps students develop creative competence and confidence that will make them effective changemakers and capable leaders. I believe it’s a critical piece of a Wesleyan education.”

PCSE Awards Seed Grants to Student-Led Ventures

The Wesleyan Doula Project is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin '16, Julia Vermeulen '15 and Zandy Stovicek '17.

The Wesleyan Doula Project, a seed grant winner, is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin ’16, Julia Vermeulen ’15 and Zandy Stovicek ’17.

Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship announced the winners of the 2015 PCSE Seed Grant Challenge. These student-led social ventures will each receive $5,000 in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

Recipients were selected from a strong pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, students, faculty and staff. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact.

The 2015 Seed Grant recipients are:

Patricelli Seed Grant Winners Share Project Progress

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo '14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo '14 is JooMah's chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo ’14 is JooMah’s chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

In March, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded three student-led social ventures with a Seed Grant. Student representatives from each group received $5,000 in unrestricted startup funds as well as trainings, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

This summer, the students are putting their grants to good use.

Government Major Benares ’15 Creates “Electronic Bookshelf” to Benefit Teachers in the Philippines

BUKO founder Joaquin Benares explains BUKO components to teachers.

BUKO founder Joaquin Benares explains BUKO components to teachers.

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Joaquin Benares ’15, who recently was awarded a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant for his project, Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO). BUKO uses an electronic bookshelf (Raspberry Pi powered server) to bring video lectures, e-textbooks and other educational tools to Philippine public schools to supplement their (sometimes nonexistent) libraries, teaching aids and contact time with teachers.

Q: Where did you grow up and how did you end up coming to Wesleyan?

A: I was born and raised in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. I attended high school at the International School of Manila. Long story short, I learned about Wesleyan from my uncle, who went here in the 80’s. I always knew that I wanted to go to school in New England, but I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go to a university or a smaller liberal arts college. As I was touring around the area, my uncle told me to drop by Wes and he gave me a tour of his old campus, which he injected with memories of his adventures. I was sold.

Q: How did your personal experience growing up in the Philippines influence your decision to create Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO)?

A: In high school, I worked with a small group teaching supplementary English classes in public schools just outside the city. I was given a first-hand view of the lack of resources afforded to these schools, coupled with the increased demand from an ever-growing number of students. I learned that many of the children we taught had family members who had left the country to pursue service-level jobs so that their families could make ends meet.

Patricelli Center Awards 3 Student-Led Social Ventures

BUKO founder Joaquin Benares '15 explains BUKO components to teachers in the Philippines.

BUKO founder Joaquin Benares ’15 explains BUKO components to teachers in the Philippines. Benares recently received a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant.

Three student-led social ventures are the winners of the 2014 Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant Competition. Student representatives from each group will each receive $5,000 in unrestricted startup funds as well as trainings, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

Recipients were selected from a strong pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, students, faculty, and staff. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact.

”We are thrilled to support the early development of these three breakthrough projects, led by extraordinary emerging social entrepreneurs,” said PCSE co-chair Lara Galinsky ’96. “Their ideas will address education in the Philippines, job access in Africa, and environmental sustainability in the United States. [The projects] have considerable promise and potential for impact.”

BUKO-300x99The 2014 PCSE Seed Grant finalists are:

13 Students Awarded Patricelli Center Seed Grants

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce its 2013 Seed Grant and Internship Grant recipients.

The PCSE Seed Grant program was launched this spring.  Individuals and teams of students competed for $5,000 prizes intended to provide capital to help Wesleyan students launch their socially-oriented project or idea and/or build capacity of their existing social enterprise. The winners are:

Circles and Ciphers

Evan Okun '13

Evan Okun ’13

Project Leader: Evan Okun ’13
Description: This grant will fund a project in Chicago with a leadership development organization that fuses restorative justice practices with hip-hop culture to empower and support predominantly African-American and Latino males, ages 14-23.

Evan says, “Programs that seek to reengage system involved youth are often punitive and paternalistic. Ciphers (a circle of rappers) dismantle traditional power dynamics by setting all participants on an equal playing field. From there, compassionate and progressive discourse can arise. It is an honor to get to work with Circles & Ciphers, a profoundly effective and forward-thinking program.”

The Middletown Food Project
Project Leaders: Hailey Sowden ’15 and Kate Enright ’15
Description: This grant will support the creation of a subsidized, low-cost, community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for 20 low-income families in Middletown using Long Lane Farm on Wesleyan’s campus.

The MINDS Foundation

Rehan Mehta ’14

Rehan Mehta ’14

Shyam Desai ’15

Shyam Desai ’15

Project Leaders: Shyam Desai ’15 and Rehan Mehta ’14
Description: This grant will support The MINDS Foundation, which was founded at Wesleyan by Raghu Appasani ’12, and works to increase access to mental health care and education and reduce economic stress and social stigma around mental illness in rural India

Rehan’s and Shyam are both from India and are passionate about mental health issues. They say that “working with The MINDS Foundation has been the perfect opportunity to combine these two parts of our identities and to have a huge impact on our community. The MINDS Foundation has already sponsored the treatment of over a hundred mentally ill patients in the second phase of our program, and the Patricelli Seed Grant is going to allow us to begin our next phase, which will provide vocational training to some of those patients who have made progress, allowing them to gain employment and help support their families.”

Sustainable Social Metrics for Big Tree Farm
Project Leaders: Nina Gerona ’15
Description: This grant will fund a data collection project for Big Tree Farms, a supply-chain farming company in Bali, which will assess and improve living standard for Big Tree farmers.