Spark began, as great stories often do, with a chance meeting. Hannah had organized a panel discussion featuring two female entrepreneurs to showcase her newly launched knowledge sharing platform, Amsterdam Academy and Kirsty was in the audience ready to learn more.
Discovering at the event that not only did they share a common interest in women’s issues and particularly in entrepreneurship, Kirsty and Hannah also discovered that they lived just a couple of doors away from each other. Such is life in the city.
Which is how neighbours became co-conspirators.
Alongside growing their respective businesses Hannah, with Amsterdam Academy and Kirsty with her co-working space for entrepreneurs Jam Workspace they would often find themselves musing about how they could better serve and connect the female entrepreneur community in the city. It seemed to them that so many women were doing incredibly interesting things with their businesses, but for the most part they were operating in isolation from each other. Wouldn’t it be better, they wondered, if there was a place for these women to come together, something like the panel discussion at which Kirsty and Hannah had met but bigger, with multiple workshops and speakers to inspire the attendees?
Which is how a great idea is born.
After Spark 2015 I was curious as to when Hannah realised that Spark had taken on a life of its own, and become something more than just another conference:
“I knew we got Spark right last year”, she told me “when so many attendees showed up at the optional feedback session. They were already invested in seeing Spark continue and wanted to let us know what they needed from it. They wanted to be part of it continuing. And our Facebook community was raving about the conference online, they still are.
The feedback I loved the most was from an attendee who told me;
‘I’ve been to many conferences before and NEVER have I witnessed and experienced such a special and supportive atmosphere as there was here at Spark today.’
That for me was the best feeling. The fact that even to this day the attendees are still talking about it just shows what an impression the day made on everyone, from the attendees to the speakers to the organisers.”
When I asked Hannah what her hopes and dreams were for Spark in the future, she told me:
“My hopes and dreams for the future of Spark and the Spark community are that it grows into the central hub for female entrepreneurs in the Netherlands and beyond. I want everyone to associate Spark with high quality speakers and groundbreaking sessions that really help attendees make more of their businesses. I want them to experience an atmosphere that simply cannot be found at any other conference.
My dream is to see collaborative projects flourish throughout the Spark community. To witness our community spread knowledge-sharing, non-judgmental vibes to each other with nothing but support and encouragement.
Mostly, though, I want women to leave our events already looking forward to the next one and planning to bring a friend along.
And for Spark to be recognized as exclusive when it comes to quality but inclusive when it comes to community.”
Which is how a spark, becomes a movement.
With new co-organisers Emmy (Amsterdam Mamas & McCarthy Consulting) and Saron (Total Self) joining the Spark team for 2016 & 2017, Spark is bigger than ever before with an exciting future ahead.
All it takes is one spark to start a chain reaction. That chain reaction began at the first Spark Conference in 2015 and continues to burn brightly as our community of female entrepreneurs blazes their way across the city.
The third Spark conference will be held on March 27-28, 2017 at WeWork Metropool (27th) & De Balie (28th) in Amsterdam.
Spark is more than a conference, it’s a movement.
Will you join us?