If you’ve read the newspaper at all lately, or listened to the local radio, or seen the signs downtown, then you’ve probably heard a little bit about One Spark. Maybe you’ve heard it mentioned, but do you know what it is? Well, to quote the FL Times Union, One Spark is a “huge ‘crowdfunding’ festival coming to our city this week, bringing more than 500 ‘creators’ to show off their great ideas – art, music, inventions, organizations and innovations of all sorts – at more than 50 downtown venues.”
So, what exactly is a “crowdfunding” event, you ask? It’s a chance for all the creators mentioned above to have a venue to show off their products/ideas for several days while the crowd (that’s us!) votes on the projects they like. As we all know (especially us fellow entrepreneurs), it takes money to put ideas into reality. One Spark has secured a guaranteed $250,000 crowdfund to be distributed to participants based on our public vote, and a pledge of up to $1 million in equity investments to chose Creators from STACHE Investments Corp., an investment company formed by billionaire and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan. So basically, the idea of One Spark is to connect projects with the money needed to launch them.
I first heard about One Spark quite a while back because my husband, Tukz, is good friends with one of the local founders of One Spark, Varick Rosete. They were in FSA (Filipino Student Association) together back in college. A couple months ago, Tukz sat down and did a recorded interview with Varick for his FSA Alumni Youtube channel and they talked quite a bit about One Spark.
So, why is One Spark so important for Jacksonville? To me, important because it’s literally the first of its kind and it is happening HERE, in OUR CITY. As someone who grew up here and has seen Jacksonville struggle to get on the map in terms of art, culture and a vital downtown, this is definitely a huge step in the right direction. Creators are coming from all over the WORLD this week! To Jacksonville, FL. Amazing! And in addition to the creator booths, there will be great food and music….as all good festivals should have!
It all starts Wednesday afternoon at 3pm and the results will be announced on Sunday morning at 11am. While attending the festival, you can vote on your favorites via various kiosks set up throughout the festival, text message, smartphone app and/or the One Spark website. See something you like? Vote for it! And if you REALLY like it, you can choose to contribute funds toward it.
There are various sources where you can check out all the details about One Spark – HERE, HERE and on the official website www.BeOneSpark.com. But if you’re the type who gets overwhelmed with all the details, then just pick a night or two this week (Wed-Sat) to head downtown and just explore. The Skyway will be running for free from 6am-3am Wed-Fri, 8a-3a Sat and 8a-6p Sun. My plan is to park at the Kings Avenue garage in San Marco and take the Skyway over to Hemming Plaza and then just go explore from there.
Last, but not least, did you know that one of our very own Jacksonville Women’s Small Biz vendors is a creator at One Spark? It’s true! Go out and support our own Lina M. Bath Boutique at her One Spark booth (Entry #822) at The Landing.
So, now you know what One Spark is. The question now is: Are you going to come out and support it this week? Comment below!