Sarasota-Manatee's Spark Growth connects the dots in collaboration for multi-organizational initiatives

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- As a community leader - are you tired of constant conflict and lots of talk with little to show in actual results?

You are a “getting it done” person, but in working with multiple organizations, sometimes projects go well and sometimes they get bogged down…really bogged down!

How many times have you seen significant time & money spent on "The Vision", "The Mission", "The Strategic Plan" - only to have that expensive work put on the shelf and never implemented?

Do you ever feel like money is thrown at problems, but there are seldom measurable results and little in direct impact realized?

We don't need another plan to add to the library - we need to get stuff done!

Think Big. Keep it Simple. Make it Happen.

Spark Growth connects the dots in collaboration for multi-organizational initiatives. We share an objective viewpoint across regional and organizational silos, and utilize an agile working style to get things done quickly and effectively.

If everything is important - where does the money go on projects? In the new world that now seems to change every day, it goes to where the best ROI is found and where sustainability matters. Although planning is important, we focus on the doing - the implementation process, which goes right to the bottom line, directly affecting your project's ROI.

What have we been up to?

  • Better Together - Collaboration by Regional Leadership
  • Bradenton Innovation Center
  • TEDx Sarasota
  • BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton
  • Strategic Doing Leadership
  • Regional Leadership at DaVinci Exhibition
  • Start-up Chicks Launch
  • Bright Spots in Education Leadership
  • Entrepreneurship at Sarasota-Bradenton 2gether
  • Better Together - Collaboration by Regional Leadership
  • Bradenton Innovation Center

Spark Growth Strategic Doing Workshop - In June of 2014, Spark Growth gathered a group of people from around the region who are passionate about education and learning innovation for an introduction to Strategic Doing. See the video below or at this link:

Spark Growth Strategic Doing Workshop R1 from Jim Aardema on Vimeo.

Why Spark Growth?

Spark Growth is a partnership of the community and business development work of Stan Schultes and Sara Hand - social and civic entrepreneurs who are long-time community builders throughout Florida. They're co-founders of BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton and DaVinci's Faire, and bring together thought leaders in an annual Leadership Conference that challenges the status quo. They are partnered with the Purdue University Center for Regional Leadership in establishing a common language for problem solving in open networks and a toolset for taking rapid and effective action on projects.

We measure success by community engagement and the potential for long term social capital rewards and economic impacts. In practical terms, we engage in projects that do the most good in the community across these four areas:

Entrepreneurial ecosystem development - the focus is on starting and growing viable companies that are repeatable, sustainable and scalable. This not only encourages job creation and growth in the tax base, but also reduces brain drain by providing local students a place to thrive and want live, work and play after graduation.

Women's initiatives - it is becoming recognized that having women in leadership improves companies' chances of success, resiliency, and profitability. But the fact is that young women aren't yet going into many areas of business, especially in technology.

Education - education is at the core of everything we do - without an educated workforce, new businesses won't have the raw talent from which to build their products or services. Effective education raises earning potential dramatically and can change families and communities in profound ways.

The funding continuum - a myth often overheard from entrepreneurs is "there's no investment money in Florida." The reality is there's plenty of money, the problem is the funding community is not yet well organized, from early-stage angel investors through venture capital funding.

How We Can Help

We're Chief Do'ers in developing and implementing large scale, cross-community projects. We are organizational development thought-leaders, and operate from an objective viewpoint, without typical geographical or political constraints.

We apply powerful tools to solve difficult problems, with a common-sense focus on getting things done.

We are highly experienced at working within open networks - asking what could we do together, what should we do, and what will we do as a community. And then driving those commitments to action through collaboration and sharing of assets within the community.

We are agile and collaborative, quickly leverage connections and have a focus on outcomes and sustaining results.

Learn more by visiting the Spark Growth website,