PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #2 from Tavo True-Alcala ’15 and Brent Packer ’15

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Each grant recipient reports back with blog posts and photos. Here’s the second report from Wishing Well, one of the three 2014 winners. You can read about Wishing Well here and read their first seed grant report here.

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wishing well logoWishing Well progress is quickly accelerating. After over 9 months of international separation, Tavo and I are not only within the same time zone but within walking distance. We’re back at Wes and eager to break soil.

Before we begin churning out Wishing Wells to every University across North America, we’re laying the necessary ideological foundation. We believe that this initial investment in defining the underlying structure will allow Wishing Well to develop most effectively, prevent future growing pains, and clarify our collective vision. We’re happy to announce our foundation:

Our premises:

  1. Solutions to correcting the environment’s deteriorating health must enter the marketplace as fast as possible.
  2. Our social commitment overrides our profit-drive; our financial aim is to be self-sustaining so we can continue to make an impact.

Our goal: In an effort to combat plastic waste, we aim to spread Wishing Well to a wide market as effectively as possible while maintaining the enthusiastic, student based ethos with which we began.

The designers and builders of the first Wishing Well prototypes (from left): Nina Gerona '15, Jen Kleindienst (Sustainability Coordinator), Bruce Strickland (Machine Shop), Tavo True-Alcala '15, Dave Strickland (Machine Shop), Brent Packer '15, and Madeleine O'Brien '16

The designers and builders of the first Wishing Well prototypes (from left): Nina Gerona ’15, Jen Kleindienst (Sustainability Coordinator), Bruce Strickland (Machine Shop), Tavo True-Alcala ’15, Dave Strickland (Machine Shop), Brent Packer ’15, and Madeleine O’Brien ’16

Sure, having organizational premises and a goal is nice, but we needed something more. We dug the foundation, now we pour the concrete. Introducing our 2-part business model. In the spirit of Wesleyan, it’s a bit nontraditional:

  1. Open source knowledge. Spreading the benefits of the Wishing Well system is our primary goal, and to that end, we intend to open source our designs. These plans will be free to download from our website. If an organization has the facilities and time, they will have everything necessary to build their own Wishing Well. However, these plans can only be used for personal use; no organization is permitted to use our designs for commercial gain. A licensing system will help insure that our openness is not abused.
  2. Low-cost prefabricated Wishing Wells. It’s likely that many Universities and other organizations will be unable to build our structures on their own. Or maybe they have the capacity but think it would be easier to purchase a prefabricated one. We plan to offer low-cost prefabricated Wells. Each will be priced to allow our own financial self-sufficiency and nothing more.

We have also placed a great deal of thought into our human structure and culture. We’d like to retain the youthful energy, innovation, and idealism upon which Wishing Well was founded. To accomplish this, we plan to gather a team of amazing college students and recent graduates. We also recognize that a naiveness often accompanies such organizations. However, we plan to combat this by establishing an advisory board of senior industry experts. They will offer guidance when necessary and challenge our decisions whenever possible. We envision this creative conflict to be another piece of Wishing Well’s flourishing future.

Stay tuned for more updates. If you’re looking to join the Wishing Well team, be on the lookout for more information in the coming months. Or if you’re just looking to chat about Wishing Well, don’t hesitate to contact Tavo or me. We’re always free to grab a coffee or phone call 🙂

 

 

 

 

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