SparkJam 2020 took place on June 26, 2020. The Rocket Factory, along with Activation Capital, Elevation Advertising, Profit Optics, and the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation, collaborated to unite Virginia’s start-up ecosystem with a cross-section of Virginia commercial business sectors.
By all accounts, this was a unique opportunity to come together (albeit virtually) and discuss new ways of thinking and collaborating to chart a path forward for our economy.
A strong sense of community
As we talked with folks throughout Virginia as we assembled the program, there was a willingness from our community to step up and contribute.
Some with their talent, others with additional network connections, media impressions, and live air time to get the word out.
As I listened to the speakers throughout the day, I was impressed by their willingness to share ideas and, at times, express difficulties navigating our current health and economic crisis.
Beyond knowledge-sharing, one of the other goals was to raise money for the Virginia 30 Day Fund, a recently formed non-profit by Pete Snyder and his wife Burson, to provide forgivable $3,000 loans to small businesses in need.
Because we were moving fast to execute, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to plan out the potentially more impactful strategic implications that could come from a day like this. What we did know is “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
In times of crisis, the need to proceed based on experience and instinct served as our North Star.
What we did know is we were going to get a lot of data from the day that could require greater focus and attention.
That information could come in two forms: what we heard and potentially more impactful, what we did not hear.
Addressing gaps to deliver meaningful impact
Each of our panelists shared amazing stories about how each reacted at the moment to the current situation.
While there’s still a bit of “unpacking” from what was heard from our amazing leaders, we’re doing a lot reflecting on some fundamental gaps that will keep us from sustaining any meaningful recovery, let alone growth in the future.
For a majority of our business community, the tough part is the reality of trying to plan proactively when every day is a struggle just to keep the lights on.
As I review the day and think about the real value that could come from SparkJam, I get the most fired up thinking about how to bring like-minded groups of people together to work through foundational issues that will keep us from being successful in the longterm.
For there to be sustained recovery, some fundamental and tough questions will need to be answered, planned, and executed.
SparkJam 2020 was just the beginning.
The real power and impact from the day comes from the hard work that lies before us to be ready for whatever the heck comes next.
The best way out is always through.
And it recently started with a “spark.”