“The BYOB program showed me that the sky is the limit, it helped me feel confident to share my ideas,” – Diamond Turner (Be Your Own Boss Summer 2021 Intern)
Diamond Turner is a young woman who wears many hats. She’s a content creator, dancer, fashion designer, and junior at the Lindblom Math and Science Academy. As of this past summer, she also added budding entrepreneur to that list. Diamond participated in the Future Founders Be Your Own Boss Summer Internship where her and her fellow teammates developed an app called Brainy-Dash. Their app was a favorite amongst the Future Founders community and won first place at the 2021 Be Your Own Boss pitch competition, earning Diamond’s team a portion of the $17,500 in college scholarships pledged by the Ford Motor Company Fund.
Brainy-Dash was far from Diamond’s first creative endeavor. In fact, she had been working on a couple projects before joining the Future Founders programming. From an early age, Diamond loved to go shopping, she exclaims, “It’s literally my favorite activity ever!” Her passion for fashion and streetwear is what culminated into her very own expanding line of graphic tees. Her brand Whatever.period is, “a brand of expression and designs that give you a visual of how I feel.” Diamond makes designs to inspire others to be and think creatively. Diamond’s love of everything fashion is what persuaded her to create a shopping segment for her second endeavor.
Diamond’s YouTube channel, Just Diamond, part daily vlogs, part tutorials, and part fashion hauls is still in its growth phase. Diamond created her channel as a medium to express herself and gain self-confidence. She admitted that despite her confident demeanor she tends to be very shy at times. Her hope is to build a community that fosters growth, inspiration, and encouragement amongst her followers. As her viewership and subscriptions grow, Diamond recognizes the possibility of one day monetizing her channel. Alongside her clothing brand, Whatever.period, her YouTube channel Just Diamond could become a second revenue stream and a platform to partner with brands and causes close to her heart.
Diamond knows Chicago like the back of her hand because she grew up here. Diamond lives in the Woodlawn community, a neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. Her high marks and enthusiasm for learning is what landed her a spot at the selective Lindblom Math and Science Academy, located in the neighborhood of West Englewood. At school she developed a passion for dance, but also became interested in an alternative program offered in place of gym, ROTC. Diamond credited the ROTC program, short for Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, with her newfound appreciation for structure. And as the summer approached, she began looking for another structured program to enrich her studies.
After spending some time searching for Chicago-based programs on Google, she came across the Future Founders Be Your Own Boss Paid Summer Internship. The program was conducted virtually this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, allowing her the flexibility to work from anywhere. As she read on, she learned that the program would bring students together from communities across the Chicagoland area. Expert-led workshops would teach students about creating and pitching their own business ideas. Students would be grouped into teams led by seasoned entrepreneurs who would provide mentorship on the entrepreneurial process. At the end of the two-week program, the teams would pitch their business ideas to the Future Founders community. The experience sounded perfect to her, as she was always interested in entrepreneurship, and she wanted to learn more about marketing herself and her products.
During the program, Diamond and her team knew they were onto something. They began working on a gaming app that would help middle school students improve their basic math skills. They worked tirelessly on the app, going above and beyond program requirements. After the internship ended for the day, Diamond and her team would coordinate a time to meet for an additional two to three hours. The extra work they put into their business idea paid off. By the end of their sessions, they had created Brainy-Dash, “An endless-runner single-player app that gamifies math concepts for middle school students to make learning fun and build a lifetime love of math.” The runner game allowed students to study basic math problems by picking up pieces, like Tetris, and solving for each one.
With their app complete, Diamond’s team practiced their pitch for the final showcase. Any apprehension they experienced about pitching was overcome by some helpful advice from their mentor. They finished the Be Your Own Boss program by pitching the idea to members of the Future Founders community. Judges loved the game and the team’s enthusiasm so much, they awarded them First Place, earning Diamond and her teammates a portion of $17,500 in college scholarships provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund.
Since the program ended, Diamond has been laser focused on building her brand. She has been busy incorporating the lessons she learned through the Be Your Own Boss program to her own projects. Her entrepreneurial spirit is what propels her forward in her ventures. The Be Your Own Boss program has empowered her to think BIG,“I really learned how to market anything. That was something I wanted to learn, how to market yourself and how to market a product.” She feels that her time with the BYOB program has helped her gain an understanding of what it takes to build a successful brand from an idea. If there is one thing Diamond wants other young entrepreneurs to know it is this, the sky IS the limit, period.
Learn more about the BYOB program here!
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