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Innovation Event Draws Healthcare Startups to Jacksonville

April 5, 2018
by Heather Landi
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One Spark 2018 hosted innovators from all over the country to showcase their business ideas and products aimed at bringing innovation to healthcare and education, as well as a number of other industries.

One Spark 2018 took place over two days in early April at Daily's Place Amphitheater in Jacksonville, with innovators grouped in five categories – MindSpark, TechSpark, HealthSpark, LifeSpark and WorldSpark. The participated competed in the Spark Tank, a judged pitch competition, and they competed to be crowd favorites, measured through online audience voting, as reported by the Jacksonville Business Journal last week.

GuideWell Innovation, a subsidiary of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation which also owns Florida Blue, sponsored the HealthSpark innovation competition. “GuideWell Innovation is devoted to accelerating health care innovation," Darnell Smith, Florida Blue market president and past chair of Jax Chamber, said, as reported in the article. "We're focused on developing a real-world innovation environment in our backyard."

As the article also reports, Smith said One Spark was the perfect opportunity for GuideWell to support innovation in its industry. He hopes health care startups showcased in this year's event will benefit from networking with industry experts and will get guidance in going to market.

Healthcare startups like B&G Educational Innovations, which creates medical training tools, and NeuroInitiative, a company focused on finding treatments for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimers, got their starts at One Spark, according to the article.

"For us, we get to see what new things old creators are up to, and we get to build relationships with new creators. We want to work with creators to transform this industry to meet the needs of customers,” Smith said.

Smith noted that there is a wide range of innovation opportunities in the health care industry, ranging from wearable technology to telemedicine. He is confident that One Spark 2018 will foster new innovations in health care. "One Spark has it in its DNA to create," Smith said, according to the article.

A total of $50,000 was presented to winners in a variety of categories, Winners in each of the five sectors received $2,500, and the overall winner took home an additional $7,500. Judges in the Spark Tank awarded a third-place prize of $5,000, second-place prize of $10,000 and first-place prize of $15,000.

Read the entire story in the Jacksonville Business Journal here.


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