By: Stephanie Scott
Photos by: Deniece Griffin
Students2Startups initiative, a joint effort by Invest Atlanta and Worksource Atlanta to develop a tech talent pipeline by subsidizing Atlanta-based students to complete entrepreneurial-focused internships with Atlanta startups. The program also supports growing startups with funding for some of their immediate tech talent needs. This year Students2Startups placed 18 students as interns within Atlanta-based startup companies.
Brandon Douglas is one of 7 lucky students chosen from Georgia State to participate in the Students2Startups internship program. Douglas, a Jamaican immigrant and studentpreneur is currently studying Economics with a minor in Entrepreneurship and is expecting to graduate in December 2018.
“Entrepreneurship is empathy– seeing people’s problems and trying to solve them.”
How did you hear about S2S?
A classmate in one of my Entrepreneurship classes (ENI 3102) told me about it. She didn’t know too much about it, and neither did I even when I applied. But, she told me this was a really cool opportunity that links startups in Atlanta to students like us who want to work for startups.
What company do you work for?
I work for Brown Toy Box through Students2Startups. Brown Toy Box is a toy company that aims to show positive representation of black people in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Children of color don’t normally see themselves represented in the field of STEAM, so Brown Toy Box aims to fix this. The founder is Terri-Nichelle Bradley, who has spoken to ENI students at Georgia State in the past.
What are your duties as an intern?
For Brown Toy Box I’m doing digital marketing–email lists, social media, etc. I’m a graphic designer. So, along with coming up with content strategy, I create and contract people to create content for the brand. Creating a sustainable content strategy for after I leave is the biggest thing that we’re doing right now. For example, I’m developing some characters called the “STEAM Team” that merchandise will be developed around–toys, coloring books, etc.
What have you learned from your internship?
There are certain things that you can’t experience until you have actual numbers, like real people buying your stuff. You can do all the “pre” work in the world but being able to actually work with a mailing list of 1000 people on it or being able to see the results of the things that you do on social media in real time instead of just making models and predictions. That hands-on experience has been really priceless to me. Terri-Nichelle Bradley, the founder and CEO, has also been great to me. I think she’ll be a great professional connection when I leave this internship. Being a minority who’s starting her own business in Atlanta, we share a lot of commonalities. So, seeing how she navigates has taught me a lot.
Tell us about your own entrepreneurial ventures?
I’m working on Bad Design, LLC. It’s a content creation company where we contract out independent contractors and independent creators in different industries. We curate teams of independent contractors and we solve design problems for very small companies. Companies with 0-50 employees is our primary target. I have yet to launch, but we have done a couple of jobs like logos, designs for apparel, and packaging for people. This is my way to leverage my connections to a bunch of independent contractors and creatives that I know.
What have you learned from your ENI classes that you’ve applied to your internship?
Right now, we’re focusing on customer acquisition. I learned about that in my first Entrepreneurship class (ENI 3101). The customer focus that we’re taught over and over in class is definitely reinforced in my internship with Brown Toy Box.
What does Entrepreneurship mean to you?
To me, entrepreneurship is change. It’s the fuel for social mobility. Of all the things that the American Dream is supposed to be, I feel that’s one of the things that really stands out–the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, and the protections that you have in order to be an entrepreneur that you wouldn’t have anywhere else in the world. My family moved to the States from Jamaica when I was 3, just for those opportunities. I feel like entrepreneurship is the fuel to have better for yourself and your family. I also feel that Entrepreneurship is empathy– seeing people’s problems and trying to solve them.
You can read more about the Students2Startups internship program in Part 2 here.