As a scholar of entrepreneurship, twentieth century French economist Joseph Schumpeter recognized what he called the “perennial gale of creative destruction.” To be an entrepreneur is to be a creator – a maker, an innovator, someone who sees the world as it currently exists and conjures up something new. Artists, activists, and instigators are all entrepreneurs. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Wesleyan, where that “perennial gale of creative destruction” is visible in classrooms, studios, and behind closed dorm room doors in every corner of campus.
In September 2021, thanks to a generous donation from Sadasia McCutcheon ‘17, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship launched a new Entrepreneurship Microgrant Fund to support student creators. The fund offers $200 unrestricted stipends for makers, artists, or freelancers to create, test, and commercialize their ideas. These grants are intended to incentivize “learning by doing” and can be used for prototyping, customer discovery, purchasing supplies, paying staff, e-commerce platform fees, and more. Through partnerships with campus groups like The Workshop, Wesleyan’s student-run art space and artists’ collective, and Code_Wes, the microgrant reached students who may not have previously thought of themselves as ‘entrepreneurs.’
In its first year, the Center awarded 22 microgrants to photographers, filmmakers, fashion designers, coders, musicians, and chefs. Grantees reported that even such a small amount of money helped their “vision come to life.” One recipient leveraged the $200 microgrant to raise $300 from other sources. Another noted “I found this grant fund to be super helpful in purchasing materials for shipping and vending that would have otherwise come out of my pocket. As a low-income student, this was an immense help!”
When we asked the grantees to share their advice for other student creatives, here is what they told us:
Laurel Goulbourne ’23
A photoshoot on how joy transcends even when confined – using paint and classroom objects.
“Take your time and it will all come together”
Eliot Kimball ’24
Another Lover Music Video
I directed a music video for Graham Riley ’24, a Wesleyan student and Rocnation artist, for a song on his new album he is releasing this summer.
“Consume less and create more! Nothing is inhibiting you from creating except for yourself 🙂 And every time you create, even if you aren’t happy with the final product, you become a better creator.”
Hasanti Kelly ’22
Self Hate Clothing
Self Hate is more than just clothes, it’s a feeling. Through the medium of streetwear Self Hate posits itself as a clothing brand that hopes to address the little and big things that we hate about ourselves and the world at large around us.
“Talk about your ideas with other people. It’s super necessary to get feedback and figure out where your blind spots are while working on what is potentially a passion and career.”
Nélida Zepeda ’23
Hearth Creative Co.
Hearth Creative Co. specializes in recycled fine metal and crystal jewelry as well as serving to distribute Wixárika Jewelry. We are in the process of becoming a non-profit organization.
“One piece of advice I would offer is to stay committed to your original dream/vision/inspiration, especially when you are a one-person venture.”
Isabella Durcan ’22
Flowspace is an alternative co-working space that integrates exercise and meditation into the workday to leave remote workers feeling healthy, happy, and more productive.
“Test out your idea! Keep testing it, keep modifying it!”
Kiona McCormick ’22
Moments is a mobile app that provides somatic movement exercises to help busy people manage stress via the mind-body connection.
“Try to detach yourself from possible outcomes. It’s hard to take action if you’re afraid for whatever reason. Stay open, stay curious, and just keep swimming.”
Kekeli Logoh ’23
Every Little Thing Company
An e-commerce shop that offers a variety of eco-friendly products.
“Aspiring to achieve a goal is extremely difficult and requires a lot of inner motivation. You need to truly believe in yourself and in your project, otherwise, at some point, you will find yourself pulling away and everything falling apart.”
Graham Ferguson ‘24
A gallery for artists to sell their work and encourage biking as a sustainable way to commute on campus
“It can be daunting just to do. But if you think there is space on campus for something, then do it because odds are other people are thinking the same thing.”
Alec Black ’23
better luck lit mag
student of color arts and literary magazine @ wesleyan university
“Find people who match your style of working/understand your vision as collaborators!”
Other 2021/2022 grantees are:
Leslie Rosario-Olivo ’22
@liminalspacesfanclub on Instagram and all streaming platforms
Justin Ross ‘22
Xandra Chen ‘24
@xandras_clothes on Instagram
Noah Cate ‘22
Abigail Abraham ‘25
For more information about the Entrepreneurship Microgrant and other opportunities from the Patricelli Center, visit www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli.