Growing up with siblings who have disabilities made Will Bubenik, STHM ’18, realize the importance of accessibility. “I saw from a very early age that it wasn’t that they had trouble accessing the world, it’s that the world wasn’t accessible to them,” says Bubenik.
His concern for his siblings and their ability to have access to all the world could offer them was what led Bubenik to start Nebula Media Group. The agency’s mission is to help organizations make their online and digital content more accessible, and Bubenik makes an effort to employ people of all abilities.
While pursuing his degree at Temple University, Bubenik was able to take advantage of the resources and mentorship programs offered by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), a university-wide resource that offers workshops, an accelerator program, free mentoring and hosts three annual competitions open to all Temple students, alumni, faculty and staff. Nebula Media Group won first place in the Social Impact track at the 22nd annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB) and second place in the 2nd annual Changemaker Challenge.
“The Changemaker Challenge benefited my business because it validated my idea and it actually prompted me to continue the work through winning the social impact track and the Be Your Own Boss Bowl,” says Bubenik.
Recently, Bubenik won an Arch Grant, a St. Louis-based competition run by the Entrepreneur Startup Business Development Corporation. The grant offers startups support like equity-free funding and free office space. And when the grant required relocation of company headquarters to St. Louis, Mo. Bubenik returned to his hometown, bringing Nebula back to its roots and where his “why” for the business started.
While he’s excited about this homecoming and looking forward to taking advantage of the resources that come with this Arch Grant, Bubenik reflects fondly on his time at Temple and in Philadelphia. “I couldn’t have taken this next step without the foundation that the IEI helped instill in me over the past few years,” he says.
Like many entrepreneurs, Bubenik has had to learn through experience and by making his own mistakes—like practicing what you preach and evaluating his company’s own website to make it more accessible. Luckily, a trusted mentor pointed out how Nebula’s website also needed to exemplify what he was coaching other companies on incorporating into their websites. The website includes things like giving users the ability to adjust text without hampering their experience on the website.
As his company evolved with new advice and a new perspective after the St. Louis relocation, the services offered by Nebula became more in demand. Bubenik and Nebula are now proudly working with “a state government agency, a huge candy company and various e-commerce organizations on improving their online and digital accessibility.”