Coffee and orange tape
“In the late November darkness I pulled off soaked indicator line from the outer door. SparkUp had been officially opened the night before and now it was taking a breath.”
I started work in Turku Science Park in September last year. I was quite dazed. I wore a reflective vest and a yellow hard hat and stood in the middle of a multi-coloured mosaic floor. Strange people passed by me, there were tools in place of furniture, paths made of brown cardboard snaked on the floor, and somewhere I heard an argument on whether there should be light switches in the conference rooms after all, and somebody said that SparkUp has plenty of wall sockets. They just happened to be placed close to the ceiling.
Driving a Clio to Ikea
It seems like decades have passed since that moment. SparkUp was just being completed then. We thought about the furniture, planned the opening, and drove to Ikea a number of times. On every trip the small Clio was loaded full, and always something was left out. The unassembled furniture lay on the second floor, the installation of the video wall was delayed, and we went to Ikea again. I met new people all the time. No doubt I introduced myself to many of them several times.
By the end of October I had learned the route from DataCity to SparkUp. It went through the indoor car park and Laamo’s building site office. When required, the site office provided a hard hat, vest, nail gun, orange tape, and a couple of jokes.
Web updates and sparkling wine
I made dozens of jugs of coffee and learned a great deal, mostly by making mistakes at first. The updating of the SparkUp website was assigned to me. Sometimes the events entered there went nowhere, and at other times I was asked not to post them anymore on the homepage of the City of Turku. (I did feel like repeating that mistake.)
Little by little the tools and Ikea’s boxes morphed into furniture, and the first start-ups moved to their new offices. There were new faces, new names and new action. BusinessUp began to run in the evenings. We ordered sparkling wine for the opening party and chilled it. The orange kitchen that at first had seemed glaring was now very cosy and warm as it was filled with people holding coffee cups.
In the late November darkness I pulled off soaked indicator line from the outer door. SparkUp had been officially opened the night before and now it was taking a breath. A new day dawned, rainy and dim, but SparkUp turned on its bright lights, prepared to welcome all enthusiastic, uncertain, ready and less ready enterprises and ideas.
SparkUp offers premises for all kinds of events; large festivities and private talks, seminars and parties. I was there to hold its hand when it found its current form of a continuously changing community. People, ideas and enterprises come and go, but SparkUp stays among them. My contribution will be over at the end of March and I will be working elsewhere. I’m not going to leave SparkUp behind for good, though.
You can get the girl out of SparkUp, but you can’t get SparkUp out of the girl.
The writer will be a SparkUp girl at heart forever despite the finishing of the Start Nordic project.