During April 9-13, downtown Jacksonville once again transformed into the vibrant home of One Spark, the world’s largest crowdfunding festival for creators in art, innovation, music, science, and technology. One Spark is a nonprofit organization, created in 2011 by three friends in Jacksonville, who wanted to connect great ideas with the capital and resources they need to become reality. Local news stations reported that over 260,000 people attended One Spark during the five-day festival, which is about a 60 percent increase from the first festival held in 2013. As a company that values technology, innovation, and creativity, Beeline was proud to sponsor this incredible event and send some of its colleagues to participate in the festivities.
Some One Spark Background
This event gives new meaning to the idea of crowdfunding, which typically takes place online. Entrepreneurs and artists, also known as “Creators,” display their projects along a 20-square-block stretch of downtown Jacksonville, hoping that their ideas become the next big thing. One Spark organizers encourage entrepreneurs to showcase their projects, regardless of their current stage of development. It doesn’t matter if the ideas are backed with a formal business plan or if they are simply sketched out on napkins from the local coffee shop. As a result, something amazing happens: people bring their ideas from all sources of inspiration, including garages, dorm rooms, and even farms. In the end, the attendees ultimately decide who receives funding. The event is free for all to attend, and as attendees peruse downtown, they vote for their favorite Creators on the One Spark app. Many attendees also choose to contribute directly to the projects they find most interesting. In addition, up to $310,000 in crowdfunding and prize money was up for grabs this year. Here’s the best part: capital investors also attend the event (often incognito) in hopes of discovering the next big thing. That gives Creators the opportunity to connect with millions of potential dollars in capital resources, turning their dreams into reality. [click to continue…]