DIFFvelopment is committed to addressing underemployment within the global professional black community through culturally specific entrepreneurial and financial education. We fulfill our mission of "Re-empowering people of African descent one student at a time" by exposing college students of African descent to entrepreneurship as a viable career option. Here is what we offer them:
SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The best way to begin to understand the impact of our Consultrepreneurship is to hear directly from the students it touched. Here is a testimonial from Imani Burnett, '17. For more details about the program, visit the Consultrepreneurship website.
COLLEGIATE AWARENESS PROGRAM
Alternative Career Services:
Realizing that there are very few options for black college students to connect with black speakers and counselors who understand their unique post-graduate needs, we decided to create a special career services option that offers both. Through Alternative Career Services, DIFFvelopment provides college students of African descent with one-on-one counseling, and registered group workshops and presentations. While one-on-one counseling caters to students who are actively exploring entrepreneurial endeavors, workshops cater to students who are interested in gaining insight into how entrepreneurship can improve their post-graduate futures. Presentations are meant to raise college students of African descents’ awareness about black post-graduate underemployment, the viability of entrepreneurship and the importance of generational wealth.
SOCIAL MEDIA APP
Brag Black: Imagine an app that allows you to not only share your pride in buying black, but to set goals towards making sure buying black becomes a central part of your life (alongside a group of like-minded individuals)? That's Brag Black in a nutshell. In addition to having the potential to revolutionize the way we view spending within the black community, this app will expand the black entrepreneur's market reach by giving them a platform to be highlighted by the very people they represent. With Black Millennials leading the way when it comes to mobile app and social media usage, Brag Black inherently targets college students of African descent. Furthermore, a recent
reveals that with "$162 billion in buying power and undisputed cultural influence, Black Millennials are using their power to successfully raise awareness of issues facing the Black community and influence decisions shaping our world."
As our unique way of saying thank you for your donation, we provide you with one of the unique sets of rewards we display and detail below. Each reward package has been carefully curated to exist in your life as a constant reminder of the timelessness of black creativity and your place within it.
- DIFFvelopment Bookmark
- DIFFvelopment Sticky Notepad (not pictured)
- DIFFvelopment Pen (not pictured)
- Ashanti Fertility Dolls 4-5" tall - made in Kenya
- Letter Opener 9"-11" long - made in Kenya
- Notebook 6" x 9" - made in Zimbabwe
- Carter G. Woodson Pioneer Button 1"
- Golden Legacy Magazine Set - includes 16 different black historical stories
- Hand Woven Fan 16" - made in Burkina Faso
- Obama Inspiration 30" x 30" Canvas - will include an inspirational James Baldwin quote
- Drum 19-21" tall, 11" diameter - made in Ghana
- Cloth Painting 66" x 44" - made in Ivory Coast
- Wooden Cup 5” high with a 2.5” diameter
- Alomo Bitters 750ml - made in Ghana
- 2 tickets to DIFFvelopment's Annual Fundraiser (not pictured)
I love this, how can I help!?
- Donate $10 or more and receive your reward package!
- Share our cause with everyone you know and beyond!
More people knowing about us means more people caring about us!
Next to making a donation, spreading the word is the most powerful thing you can do. Sharing this campaign with everyone you know (via social media, email, text and conversations), will help us to reach our goal.
OUR PROGRESS & USE OF FUNDS
Since 2015, we have dedicated our lives to conceptualizing, building and bringing DIFFvelopment to life. Conducting our first set of interviews with beautiful and intelligent college students of African descent, from all walks of life, was by far the most rewarding moment in witnessing our idea evolve into a reality...
We are humbled by the positive outcomes that generated from our inaugural summer internship program session. They inspired us to keep going and prioritize growing. Our desire to touch more college students throughout the year led us to create Alternative Career Services and Brag Black. Both projects will eventually earn DIFFvelopment income, tremendously minimizing the amount of time we dedicate to grant seeking. But in order to get there, we need the support of the community!
Your donation will enable us to:
- Offer another set of college students a summer of free empowering entrepreneurial education
- Provide top performing students with $8k in startup funding to create 3 new black-owned businesses
- Dedicate time to securing contracts with academic institutions for Alternative Career Services:
- 2018 Goal: to present to 6k students about the importance of generational wealth building
- Make strides towards creating the beta version of the Brag Black app:
- 2018 Goal: to share our business plan with at least five venture capital firms
Esi Kagale Agyeman Gillo grew up in Essex County, NJ, but proudly identifies closely with her
maternal Ugandan and paternal Ghanaian roots. Esi has spent the majority of her life supporting friends and family improve their personal and professional lives by helping them with everything from making hard decisions, to editing their most intimate academic and professional submissions. It is therefore unsurprising that she sees herself as a creative social scientist-psychologist who loves challenging individuals to reach their full potential. It is from this heart and mind that Esi dedicates herself to re-empowering people of African descent through young people who are uniquely positioned with the potential to disrupt negative patterns of history. If she had to describe herself in one sentence, she would say that she "is passionate about all things authentic and puts nothing above her freedom." Esi holds an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford, UK, a BA in Afro-American Studies and Psychology from Smith College, and a certificate in African Studies from the Five College Consortium. She has also studied in Uganda, Rwanda and Ghana.
Peter Markeeo Gillo grew up in the midwest between Chicago and Gary, Indiana. His dynamic identity as a child of a deaf father from Northern Uganda/South Sudan and a hard of hearing mother from Mississippi, led him to pursue a diverse set of community and developmental opportunities throughout his academic and traditional job careers. From DC, where he interned for the Congressional Black Caucus, to Rutgers University, where he acted as a Research Coordinator and Field Director for the NIH-funded Black Life Study, Peter has left behind the uplifiting impact of his unforgettable creative footprint. Leveraging his passion for the use of creativity in all aspects of life, Peter finds great joy in supporting college students as they dig deep to develop their own unique spheres of meaning within the global black community. He holds an MA in Social, Policy and Community Development, Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Clark Atlanta University, and a certificate in International Political Systems and Development from Nanjing, China. He is also a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Since DIFFvelopment was founded in 2015, up until mid 2017, the founders maintained outside employment to pay for expenses that were not covered by grants or donations. In 2017 alone, they spent over $30k of their own personal savings to ensure DIFFvelopment successfully carried out its pilot year of programming. This is not unusual. The majority of startup businesses are initially funded by the entrepreneurs who started them. However, as time goes on, continuing to fund one's own project is not sustainable.
With the increasing responsibilities that accompany success, maintaining outside employment proves to be counterproductive. In order to continue to successfully manage and grow all aspects of the organization, the founders realized that they had to quit their 9-5s and be 100% dedicated to DIFFvelopment.
With your help, they can speed up the process of evolving DIFFvelopment into a self-sustaining nonprofit. If they are able to meet their campaign goal of raising $70k, they can dedicate more time to building their income earning products, which will eventually allow DIFFvelopment to be financially independent.
While Alternative Career Services will generate revenue through contracts with institutions for a custom set of services, including keynote speaking engagements, ambassador workshop trainings and one-on-one counseling sessions, Brag Black will bring in revenue through in-app purchases (e.g. entrepreneurs will be able to purchase ad services to market their products to users) and user advertisement interactions.