PCSE Seed Grant Finalists Announced (public pitches 2/28 at noon)

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2014 PCSE Seed Grant Competition.

These $5,000 awards are intended to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Last year’s winners used the seed funding to launch a grant-funded CSA in Middletown, work with incarcerated youth in Chicago, advocate for farmers’ working conditions in Bali, and scale up MINDS Foundation and Maji Safi Group, two Wesleyan-borne social enterprises. They have been reporting on their progress throughout the year here.

This year’s finalists will pitch their projects at a public event on Friday, February 28, 12-1 p.m. in Exley 121. Pizza will be served, while supplies last. All members of the Wesleyan community are invited to attend, and the event will be webcast here for those who are unable to make it in person.


The 2014 PCSE Seed Grant finalists are:

Joaquin Benares ’15 
Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO) aims to bring the video lectures, e-textbooks, and other online education tools to those who need them most.

filmmakers to changemakersFILMMAKERS TO CHANGEMAKERS
Victor Goh Jin Chieh ’16, Mia Deng ’17, Jacob Sussman ’17, and Han How ’17
Social enterprises maximize their social impact by publicizing their cause to increase awareness and attract donations and volunteers. Video marketing is a powerful tool that entrepreneurs, activists, and institutions should utilize; however, video production services are highly cost-prohibitive. We are a student-run film production company that seeks to address this problem by matching student filmmakers with clients that want to use video in their cause marketing strategy at an affordable rate.

Jason Brandner ’16, Ted Shabecoff ’16, Zac Kramer ’17, Ben Marvin-Vanderryn ’17, Max Winter ’16, Lalo Lopez ’16, Adam Saul ’16, Gege (Mia) Deng ’17, Vanessa Chen ’16, and Katherine Lu ’15
The Germinal Fund is a student run nonprofit that offers microloans and probono consulting services to low-income entrepreneurs in Middletown, CT. We serve the needs of small businesses through a combination of lending and hands-on training. In doing so, we hope to germinate the seeds of poverty eradication.

Kwaku Akoi ’14, Will Durney ’14, Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, Olayinka Lawal ’15, Rebecca Njeri ’16, Geofrey Yatich ’16, and Michael Yee ’14 
JooMah is a web and SMS platform that will connect job-seekers in Sub-Saharan Africa with targeted employment opportunities nearest them.

Will Curran-Groome ’14, John Lubeck ’14, Scott Zimmer ’14, Jenna Doctoroff ’14, Francesca Moree ’14, Hailey Sowden ’15, Gregory Foley ’15, Theodore Sullivan ’15, and Catherine Walsh ’16
The Middletown Food Initiative is a new project designed to increase access to and affordability of produce within the extended Middletown community. The Initiative will provide shares of produce weekly to members of all socioeconomic demographics, and will subsidize the cost of shares for low-income members using grant funding and by instituting a tiered pricing system.

Jennifer Roach ’14 
Summer of Solutions Hartford is a food justice and youth leadership development non-profit located in Hartford, CT. They are launching an internship program to create jobs for young people teaching gardening and cooking in elementary schools and building community gardens.
Fiscal Sponsor: Grand Aspirations

wishing well logoWISHING WELL
Tavo True-Alcala ’15  and Brent Packer ’15 
The Wishing Well project will help universities design portable water stations for use at large campus events. These stations will reduce the use of disposable bottles as well as be a visible sign of the university’s commitment to sustainable practices.



The PCSE is grateful to the panel of alumni, faculty, and student judges and to the various members of the Wesleyan community who are giving their time and expertise to mentor and support Wesleyan student entrepreneurs. After reading the initial Seed Grant applications, one judge wrote “Many of the ideas were inspirational and made me a very proud alum to see Wesleyan students trying to solve some of the most pressing social problems. I personally learned significantly as I reviewed the application and learned more about the ideas. Looking forward to meeting some of these candidates in person next month for the second round.”

For questions about the Seed Grant Competition or other Patricelli Center programs, contact PCSE Director Makaela Kingsley ’98.