Alumni encourage students to pursue social entrepreneurship at HW Venture Impact event

Hannah Han

In an effort to teach students about social entrepreneurship, HW Venture Impact hosted its kickoff event March 4 in Chalmers East and West.

HW Impact Co-Founders Amaan Irfan ’21 and Alec Katz ’19 invited five alumni speakers, all of whom began organizations to serve their respective communities. The event allowed applicants for the upcoming Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship learn from experienced business owners and receive feedback on their proposals, Irfan said.

To begin the event, Group Brand Director of Minds Matter of Los Angeles Jon Levine introduced fundamental ideas behind entrepreneurship.

“Social entrepreneurship is taking social and environmental impact and bringing that together with commercial methods that are financially stable,” Levine said. “You can have a vision to make as much money as possible, but you can also want to do something good in the world.”

When presenting their business, Co-Founders of Clear Health Advisors Dr. Valerie Ulene and Byrdie Pompan also explained their mission to provide thorough medical counseling to mitigate the risk of misdiagnosis.

“The concept of our business was that if you have a diagnosis that you feel is not being appropriately treated, then there is a need for a third party, [who is] preferably not a family member,” Pompan said. “There was a real opportunity for business here, but also a need to help people navigate our healthcare system and get them to the best doctors.”

Following Pompan and Ulene’s presentation, Apryl Sims introduced Simply Wholesome, a health-food store that she renovated with her late father. Since his passing, Simply Wholesome has grown and now supports over 100 independent vendors of color, as well as marginalized and disabled individuals.

“I had a vested interest to make sure that business stayed there,” Sims said.

Sims also recently launched Apryl’s Life in a Bottle, a nonprofit organization that sells cold-pressed raw juices packaged by previously incarcerated people who hope to reintegrate into society. Sims said she will begin selling her bottled juices at both the middle and upper school cafeterias and will contribute the profits toward students who receive financial aid.

Lastly, founder of The Meaning Foundation Taylor Adams presented his company’s goal to serve underprivileged, formerly incarcerated individuals and aid them in finding meaningful job opportunities.

To close the event, HW Venture Impact provided a catered meal for attendees. Students also brainstormed ideas for the Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship proposals, which they submitted March 8.

Irfan and Katz began preparations for the event in December.