As a high school business and management student, I did various business case studies, such as researching McDonald’s marketing strategies and writing a business internal assessment where I looked into a cleaning company and their struggles in hiring employees. It allowed me to study different businesses around the world, and it gave me a vague dream of starting my own business as I wanted to apply my knowledge that I earned. Here, I looked on the internet for an opportunity to create my own business, and I found about the Diamond Challenge. I asked my classmates if they want to be in a team with me, and we decided to participate as a team of two people. From December 2020 to March 2021, we spent our time together participating in the Diamond Challenge. My participation in the Diamond Challenge allowed me to present my own business idea and get feedback from the judges and other competitors. Even though I did not win a prize from the challenge, I wanted to share my experience.
The Diamond Challenge was created by Horn Education of the University of Delaware. The challenge is a team competition where each team from all around the world comes up with a business idea and plans and presents their ideas. Due to COVID-19, the presentations were held virtually. Teams have to choose to participate in either the business or social innovation part. Business section focuses on making products that can make the most profit, while the social innovation section focuses on having the biggest positive impact on society. Throughout the competition, the competitors are required to come up with their own written narrative and pitch deck to present their ideas to judges of the challenge. If the team qualifies for the next round, they must provide a video containing the materials in the written narrative. After the first round, all the participants received various feedback, which enabled us to see the areas of improvement and the mistakes that we made. This feedback helped us to improve our business idea further. After expanding our idea based on the feedback, my team and I submitted our presentation video and waited for the result. Even though we did not win the prize, it was a very meaningful experience.
[Email showing Diamond Challenge first-round result.
As immigrants, we experience lots of difficulties due to various differences between the countries where we are from and where we are living now. By attending an international school, we encountered lots of friends and teachers suffering from the same problems as us. This is why my partner and I came up with the idea of an app that can provide a variety of information, including culture, law, language, economy, and more, about countries all around the world. We also decided to include a function that will allow the users to compare the information of two countries. This will help the users to adjust to their new country by learning about their new country in a quick, easy, and accessible way.
|[Our team’s presentation video. Photo credit: Jessica Cho]|
Even though the experience was very valuable, there were some definite challenges. The biggest challenge was that it was the first time for my team to propose a business idea, and we were not sure of where and how to start. Therefore, we decided to start with this question: “What can enhance lives and those of people around us?” We found that a commonality of both of us is that we are immigrants, and from here, our idea started to blossom into reality. We also thought of creating a good or service that can help us to avoid crime, but we could not find a suitable product, and therefore, we did not decide to carry forward. Another hardship was coming up with a business revenue model. As all of the team members did not have any experience of running a business, it was configurable for us to predict the cost and revenue of our product. We researched the costs and profits of an app, and we also interviewed my teammate’s uncle. He had experience of creating an app, so he could help us with the financial part of our idea. Moreover, there was a short time for us to prepare for the second round. We had a week to prepare for it, and as it was during school time, it was impossible for us to put in all the effort. Especially, as it was an exam week for all of the teammates, we could not prepare as much as we could when we were free. We both agreed that if we had more time, we could have provided better quality of the product itself and presentation.
However, I would still choose to participate, even if I knew the challenges. The Diamond Challenge was hugely rewarding for all of our teammates. Even though we couldn’t put much time in, we still put in as much effort as we could in a given time. It was also a new experience for me from the perspective of a start-up business. Also, getting the feedback from experts, the judges, and other competitors really helped us to organize and improve our idea. The feedback was very detailed and it provided various opinions from different people. We got feedback such as providing the visual of the app, marketing strategy, and professional expertise. These helped us to enhance our idea. We made lots of modifications according to the feedback, such as adding revenue streams and visuals of the app. Moreover, as our team decided to come up with a product for social business, it was interesting to do research and decide which type of product can help people. The Diamond Challenge was an experience that gave me various challenges but by going through these challenges, I think I gained so many things. I was able to propose my own idea and receive experts’ opinions. Furthermore, on the process of coming up with the idea, we earned various knowledge from our research. Therefore, I strongly think the experience of the Diamond Challenge is valuable. If I have a chance to participate once more, I will definitely participate.
International School of Prague
Jessica Cho firstname.lastname@example.org