Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 PCSE Seed Grant Competition. These student-led social ventures 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.
The 2014 PCSE Seed Grant winners are:
Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO)
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.
Kwaku Akoi ’14, Will Durney ’14, Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, Olayinka Lawal ’15, Maxwell Dietz ’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.
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.
BUKO, JooMah, and Wishing Well exemplify the spirit of innovation shared by so many members of the Wesleyan community. They have well-designed business plans, address a clear need, and are led by star individuals. “We are thrilled to support the early development of these three breakthrough projects, led by extraordinary emerging social entrepreneurs,” says Echoing Green Senior Vice President and PCSE co-chair Lara Galinsky ’96. “Their ideas to address education in the Philippines, job access in Africa, and environmental sustainability in the United States have considerable promise and potential for impact.”
All of the Seed Grant applicants follow in a long line of successful Wesleyan-connected social ventures — from SHOFCO to RefugePoint, Sustainable South Bronx to Musician Corps, and so many more. “The strong talent in the applications demonstrates Wesleyan’s unique ability to combine drive and motivation with social purpose,” said Sarah Williams ’88, a philanthropic consultant and Co-chair of the PCSE Advisory Board. PCSE Director Makaela Kingsley ’98 commented “Wesleyan students and alumni have an edge in the field of social impact. They combine passion for a cause with academic rigor and innovative, interdisciplinary thinking. It is a privilege to be able to support Kwaku, Joaquin, Tavo, and all of the other social entrepreneurs on campus.”
In addition to being selected by the judges as one of the three seed grant recipients, JooMah also won the Audience Choice Award for most votes received in an online poll conducted during the finalist pitches on February 28. Like past PCSE grant winners, all three ventures will report on their progress here during the coming months.
The Seed Grants are just one of many ways that the Patricelli Center supports student and alumni entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and changemakers. For more information and to access the PCSE Resource Center, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli.