Through 1FG, anyone who's never set foot into the creative world, can DJ, photograph, or perform in front of 1000s in a matter of weeks. We identify creatively inclined individuals in the communities we operate, and provide them with free training in creative art forms. Then, we give them the platform to perform at our events which draw crowds of up to 500. Our goal is to provide healthy outlets to relieve the pressures of everyday life, while providing an avenue for people to build positive self images and gain job opportunities in creative talents.
Daniela Torres, JHU 21' - 1FG gives college students in the Baltimore area a chance to explore creative passions, both new and existing, and showcase them at various types of events. We supplement students’ artistic and innovative passions with various training sessions if they’re learning a new skill, or provide paid opportunities to expand their portfolio. By targeting university students and locals from all parts of Baltimore, we aim to unify the city through a shared appreciation of the arts.
1FG was born from 2 beliefs: everyone deserves a place to belong; and everyone deserves to explore their creative passions.
However, for many of us, these things aren’t easily accessible. In an environment where 1 in 3 people suffer from issues with depression, anxiety, or substance abuse- a place to belong and a healthy outlet are not wants, but needs. 1FG set out to provide those needs. Through our educational programs, we train ordinary people in technical art forms, and later give them the platform to perform at our music-focused events which draw crowds of up to 500 from 13 colleges in Greater Baltimore.
The first step I took was to write the business plan. Always start by organizing & writing down your vision- it helps drive direction. I wrote that business plan in Oct 2018, and to this day the company still reflects it.
My next step was to recruit a team- I had the vision, and knew the steps to get it done, and I knew that through a strong team, together we could execute.
In terms of entrepreneurial resources, we got a big boost from FastForward U’s FFUEL Accelerator, an accelerator program at Johns Hopkins designed to help later stage startups grow.
The resource that has driven our team forward the most is the passion & experience of our members.
Our teammates Sindhu, Chris, & Jerry have balanced being DJs while being full time students for more than 4 years now. Using that passion and experience, they’ve spearheaded the part of the company that has taught that art form to more than 60 people.
Having been a recording artist myself for the past 8 years, I know very well the struggles of unlocking your creativity while managing commitments like school, work, and outside life.
Countless members of our team have brought invaluable skills, experience, and perspectives– building this family has driven us forward.
The hardest part to building any company, from my perspective, is sustainability. While it takes only one visionary/leader to spark the flame, I believe it takes a team to succeed in the long run. Apple didn’t stop without Steve Jobs. Tesla & Windows won’t stop without Musk & Gates. My goal with 1FG is to create something that will outlast me, and continue to have a real impact on real people. It’s for that reason I’m so grateful for the great team we’ve been able to build, and the countless students & community members in Baltimore who have joined our family & network.
I believe we’re onto something great here, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
Daniela Torres, JHU ‘21 - It’s exciting to promote collaboration between different university students and see how our relationships grow and strengthen with 1FG’s goal driving us all. In a city with various social barriers and segregation, it’s inspiring to be apart of a movement that’s aiming to break some of these down, starting in the university environment we’re immersed in.
Cynthia Eid, Loyola ‘23 - The most exciting part of 1FG is seeing the impact it makes on people. The most amazing part is around the time of one of the parties and you hear people around campus talking about the event, it’s a feeling better than words can describe. It makes you feel like you have done something big, and something worth talking about. It makes you realize you actually did something you never thought YOU could do. Hearing the excitement in people’s voices makes all the hard work that goes into planning worth it. When people leave the events they leave with more than just the feeling of having a good time, they leave with new friendships, and an experience they never knew was possible.
Positive. Self. Talk.
Be somebody the world could never tell no. The worst thing you can do to stifle your dreams is to doubt them, or to stop at “No”.
When I first wrote the business plan for 1FG, I submitted it to a program for funding. I got a big fat no. I worked 3 months straight to raise enough money to meet the initial capital costs, and everything since then has been history.
Never stop at no, and never stop believing in yourself. Don’t doubt. Just do.
Our next event is on Friday March 27th! We’ll be bringing out a surprise celebrity special guest rapper. Stay up to date with us to find out more!
EcoMap Baltimore is here to help entrepreneurs find the resources they need to build startups, small businesses, and nonprofits in their communities.