Curiosity, Crowd-funding, and Endless Unforeseen Possibilities

Christine McFaul and Angie Grab at One Spark 2013

How I Found My Internship at One Spark

Curiosity, Crowd-funding, and Endless Unforeseen Possibilities

They say curiosity killed the cat, but I beg to differ. Curiosity has always been my weakness. I love trying new things, hearing new ideas and exploring new places. So when I heard that Jacksonville had a festival where passionate locals with great ideas with chances at winning funding for their innovative projects I knew that’s where you could find me.

For five days in April Creators from all over the world lit up downtown with projects in art, innovation, music, science and technology. Creators, attendees, and volunteers, invaded many of Downtown Jacksonville’s corporate and not-so-corporate venues open for the Jacksonville community to explore.

My roommate, Angie, was the first person who had told me about One Spark. Ignite, where she where interning, had signed up to be one of the community vendors. We decided to go together

My One Spark 2013 experience was blissful to say the least.

Angie and I went downtown and the first stop on our route was Ignite, up on the fourth floor of a building that overlooked the Main Street Bridge and the city skyline. Walking up to the building we passed a band playing music on the street corner, face painters, and an artist drawing portraits for beer. I was already falling in love with the creative atmosphere. When we reached Ignite, we met about fifteen different Creators with booths set up around the office.

The ideas were all so unique and creative. One woman wanted to teach math with music, showcasing a piano that elementary school students could stand on. Another Creator had a dream to open a discount art store in St. Augustine so the students at Flagler wouldn’t have to pay as much for their art supplies.

After exploring the fourth floor, I found myself awkwardly standing in a room full of Creators that I had already visited except for one. Two young professionals stood by two large Mac computer displays and called me over to sign up for their student website.  That’s where I met Ryan and John; co-creators from North Carolina showcasing their student website Campus Grumble. We began sharing ideas and I started giving them tips on how they could improve their project in order to make the website more user-friendly. I showed them that I knew how to get students excited and interested in the great idea they were showcasing. Shortly after, they asked if I was in need of a summer internship and asked if I wanted to be the University of North Florida Campus Grumble Brand Manager. I had never had an internship before and I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship. Start-up companies have always fascinated me with dreams of one day owning my own business.

In the time that it had taken my roommate to get out of her meeting, and in the first venue we explored that day, I had already received an offer for my first internship. That’s what I think is one of the best things about One Spark. It’s the endless possibilities for connections. One Spark is an opportunity to build relationships that stretch far beyond the Jacksonville community.

I left One Spark as a happy student with an amazing internship. The creators, Ryan and John, were able to showcase their idea and gain support while building a relationship that has now directly connected them with UNF’s campus.

So, to college-age festival-goers and young professionals, my advice to you is to stay curious and learn all that you can about the creators and ideas that One Spark offers because you never know where those connections will take you. To the Creators, keep in mind while showcasing your ideas that One Spark possibilities are endless, and that this festival can provide you and your company with much more than funding for your idea.

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