Station 2 Innovation

Test | Pilot | Scale

Our home base and a testing ground for community development and engagement. 

At Spark Growth, we know people and businesses thrive in connected communities. We started as a few friends passionate about connecting people and ideas. We found that environments that allowed people of all ages from all walks of life to ask questions and share ideas respectfully, if sometimes disruptive and without judgment, brought incredible value to everyone involved. We tested and tried multiple engagement formats in numerous communities and across the spectrum of leadership positions.

What started as a passion project went through several forms of organization and, in 2013, officially became Spark Growth. A new initiative began to take shape as we looked for a home outside of restaurant and hotel meeting rooms, school and municipal auditoriums, theaters, and convention centers.
Here at Station 2 Innovation, we have had the opportunity to test, pilot, and scale everything from content, forms of community engagement, business models, and more. While this historic City of Bradenton building has been our home, we have been able to share our journey and this space with our Station 2 Innovation and community members.

We have cultivated an inclusive, place-based solution for growing resilient communities. Building capacity to grow businesses starts with personal capacity. We recognize that people become entrepreneurs in one of two ways: by choice or by necessity. We welcome both types and find these are very compatible in building a resilient and supportive community. Our founders and team provide knowledge and mentorship from a broad background of experience.

Inspirational leadership catalyzes action, and an empowered local community becomes the engine for change and opportunity. By giving everyone a chance to have their voice heard, it is possible to build capacity relatively quickly. Our process works to build trust with the community while building capacity within individuals and businesses. We have created a place to convene and encourage a diverse entrepreneurial community of non-profit and for-profit ventures.

Over time, members come and go as they need to. Well-established word of mouth drives entrepreneurs to our site for business and community services. Some are here for a short time in transition to somewhere else. Others find a home here and stay for years. Relationships are crucial to success, with the years producing deep friendships. Some people go into business together; others that have moved on visit to catch up and teach what they have learned out in the world.

Station 2 Innovation is more than just a cowork and shared workspace – it is a vibrant entrepreneur resource center. During COVID-19, our team worked with members to access PPP and other CARES Act resources. All of our member companies remained in business and grew.

As we prepare to celebrate eight years, the next stage of growth for the Station 2 Innovation program will include increasing community outreach, additional programming options through collaboration, and expanding into other communities, the successful patterns, systems, and processes, shared ideas, and operational know-how into a package. Understanding that each place is unique, customization is necessary for authenticity for each community. 

An office with tables, chairs and cabinet full of books

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Visit About Station 2 Innovation for more details and check out our programming and community outreach. Join our Meetup group to get more involved. And don’t forget to check out our takeaways from Station 2 Innovation’s eighth-anniversary celebration! We hope to see you at our upcoming events.