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Independent Study Of One Spark Reveals Small Earnings For Creators

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One Spark
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An independent study released this week shows a significant gap in the funds distributed by One Spark during their 2014 festival and the amounts creators said they needed to get their projects off the ground.Authored by Chris Markl, founder of local consulting firm the EKONOMISTS, the study was released Monday.

According to the results, more than 600 creators pitched their ideas during this year’s One Spark festival, with the majority aiming for something between $10,000 and $25,000. However, 79 percent of them received only $500 or less.

One Spark marketed the event as a chance for creators to gain profits from a $360,000 pool to be distributed at the end of the event, but the large number of creators, combined with high expectations from generous crowd members, raised the total amount of funds requested at over $99 million.

Markl says that as a non-profit One Spark has a responsibility to label itself properly when marketing to potential creators. That means properly collecting and sharing the information and results gained after the event.

“When we’re evaluating a non-profit, we should begin with the idea a non-profit doesn’t have impact. And then that non-profit should convince the public, the donors etc. through logic and data that it does have impact," he said "I think One Spark is just operating under this idea that it has this massive impact and that everyone should just believe it.”

Though Markl is frustrated at One Spark’s misplaced optimism because he’s an economist, creators were also slightly discouraged when pay time came around at the end of the festival.

Diane Bixler, a creator at this year’s One Spark festival, had a goal of $500,000 set for her project, CLASSworks. The digital education platform would allow teachers and students to connect with different class rooms while sharing data.

Bixler, who traveled from Flagler County to attend the event, went home with only $100. Instead, she found an alternative benefit to financial gain, which was networking with her peers and businesses.

“(One Spark) did give me a chance to reach out. Financially it was a big loss for me but just getting the work out and getting the opportunity to pitch and the opportunity to make those connections; I think it was worth it,” Bixler said.

Around 260,000 people attended the five day event and offered plenty of exposure to those needing networking opportunities to project their ideas and business to the masses.

In response to Markl’s study, One Spark co-founder Elton Rivas said that there are many sides to in-person crowdsourcing that benefited those involved.

“I think one of the important things is for us to also include the capital contributions, the connections, as well as looking at this over the long haul rather than a short period of time,” Rivas said.

The One Spark impact study mainly focuses on short term profits that stem from a small window of five days, Rivas said.

Rivas believes that creators who are serious about propelling their projects and businesses may only use One Spark as a beginning stage and go on to use further means of obtaining resources.

You can follow WJCT on Twitter @WJCTJax.