2016 Scholarship Finalist: Brandon Boynton

brandon-375x525The following essay was written by Brandon Boynton, a finalist for the 2016 SuretyBonds.com Small Business Scholarship. You can vote for Brandon to win one of three scholarships here.

During my eighth grade year, I struggled heavily with the negative effects of bullying. I experienced verbal, social, emotional and physical torment. Overtime, these experiences had a profound impact on my feelings of self-worth. My confidence had been destroyed and thoughts of suicide began to creep into my daily thoughts. Fortunately, having been blessed with a loving and supportive family, I grew in strength and confidence by the time I entered high school. While my emotional well-being and sense of self-worth have since improved significantly, I shall never forget that dark period of my young life.

During my sophomore year, I participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a national competition sponsored by the United States Chamber of Commerce. Still struggling with self-doubt, this was a huge leap of faith for me. However, somewhere deep down, I suspected that I possessed the ability to be successful in business. It was during my involvement with YEA! that I launched MostBeastly Studios LLC, a software development suite. It was my overwhelming desire to offer assistance to students who were dealing with the same bullying-related issues that I had experienced, combined with a passion for software development, that led to our first product offering, The BullyBøx. The BullyBøx is a mobile application that facilitates safe and anonymous student reporting of bullying and other school-related safety issues.

Purchased by school districts, The BullyBøx mobile application is free to students. Reports are automatically forwarded to designated school administrators via email to be investigated. In addition to the primary reporting function, we have included an accompanying data analytics web-tool. This allows school administrators to review “real data,” better positioning them to effectively review and revise existing bullying-related policies. The BullyBøx also provides reporters the option of attaching photographic evidence. Photos could depict actual events or even screen shots of social media pages (cyberbullying). Finally, school officials have the option of utilizing our “keyword alert” feature,  which provides auto-generated phone calls to designated administrators in the event that our servers identify pre-selected keywords in a report such as “gun,” “bomb,” “kill,” etc.

Today, as the CEO of MostBeastly Studios, I oversee a team of eight part-time developers. Having been fortunate to realize early success in business, I have had the opportunity to travel the country for purposes of attending conferences, guest-speaking, and networking with some of the most successful people in the business and technology industries. I’ve been interviewed by local, national, and international media outlets. More importantly, however, are the countless number of opportunities that I have had to bring attention to the issue of bullying.

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I would be lying if I were to say that my early success in business has come easily. There have certainly been roadblocks and challenges along the way. Likely, the most significant of these has been balancing the responsibilities of running a business with that of being a full time student. As such, I was forced to develop effective time management skills a bit earlier in life than many others my age. For instance, I have spent many lunch hours conducting video or phone conferences in the school library. While time management has certainly proven to be a daily challenge, I sincerely believe that by developing these skills now, I have better positioned myself for success in the professional world.

The lack of a full time marketing team has made it very difficult to take The BullyBøx to market at a rapid rate. As a result, the initial profit margin proved inadequate, in terms of it being a self-sustaining product. However, I am currently contracting on several other applications. The resulting revenue streams have enabled me to subsidize The BullyBøx, allowing me to offer an unlimited free version that includes all of the necessary reporting functions. This has removed any cost-prohibitive concerns regarding the adoption of The BullyBøx by schools. Thus, every student can be given a voice with which to call out for help or report concerns.

As the CEO of MostBeastly Studios LLC, I oversee the daily operations of the business. My responsibilities include: research and development, decisions related to product offerings, marketing and sales, communications and financial projections. Working with a team of eight part-time developers, I coordinate and oversee projects, ensuring that they exceed the expectations of our customers. As all of our products are offered on iOS, Android, and web-based platforms, it is my responsibility to coordinate the developers that work with the corresponding programming languages as they relate to a single project. While this has proven challenging at times, it also allows me to project my vision as it relates to the projects that we undertake. In doing so, I make every effort to adhere to our slogan, “Apps that make a difference.” I see myself as a social entrepreneur, which is someone that possesses the ability to utilize technology as a means to address many of the problems that our society faces today.

My early success has allowed me to pay forward all some of the support that I have received along the way. As a spokesperson for the YEA! (local & national), I mentor current participants in business, technology, and effectively balancing school with running a business. I currently hold a seat on the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, regularly advocating for young business owners. During my junior year, I traveled back to Washington D.C., where I presented to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, speaking about my journey as a student business owner. I currently sit on a student advisory committee for U.S. Congresswoman Susan Brooks (Indiana’s 5th District). I am also currently serving as a spokesman and consultant for the “What’s My Side Effect?,” a four-county wide anti-prescription drug abuse campaign. Finally, I have had the honor of being invited to speak at numerous local schools about issues related to bullying.

Brandon Boynton is a the founder of MostBeastly Studios LLC and launched the mobile application BullyBox. He is currently choosing between Purdue University, Butler University or Ball State University to attend this fall. He plans to major in computer technology.

About the Author

Jon Gottschalk
Jon Gottschalk is the Senior Marketing Director for Suretybonds.com and regularly blogs at the Surety Bond Insider to keep consumers informed on new legislation and updates in the commercial surety industry. He is also a licensed property & casualty insurance producer in Missouri.