Entrepreneurs and wanna-be entrepreneurs were in downtown Jacksonville Thursday for the second day of the One Spark crowdfunding festival, Creator Innovation Day.
The conference is meant to help people take their businesses or ideas to the next level.
Paula Wu wants to start her own business. She had just arrived at the Hyatt Thursday morning.
“I stay at home with my kids,” she said. “I have three: I have a toddler and two are in elementary school.”
She said she’s never owned or started a business before. But she does know the city well and wants to make it a better place by starting a new business," Wu added.
Her focus: clothing production.
“I’d like to meet some locals and see what they’re doing to help Jacksonville,” Wu said. “I’d like to navigate the small-business world a little bit more; know where to start because it’s very overwhelming.”
And Wu was given the opportunity to meet a lot of those people at the Hyatt Thursday. People were networking, participating in business workshops and hearing from speakers and panelists, like Jacksonville business owner Chris Pepin, who owns a consulting firm Magnanimous Consulting. He said being an entrepreneur is hard, and he wants people to know they have to be hungry in order to succeed.
“If you’re comfortable doing what you’re doing right now, entrepreneurship is not a place to go,” he said. “It’s unbelievably uncomfortable all the time and you have to be cool with that. So there is no convenience about it.”
Also on Thursday, the Spark Tank competition — similar to the television program, "Shark Tank" — between 10 Creators will awarding three of them with resources to get their business off the ground at 5 p.m.
And One Spark’s Creator Innovation Day continues into Thursday night with a networking reception at the Jacksonville Suns home season opener.