On June 10, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson presented the California Small Business of the Year award to introNetworks co-founders Mark Sylvester and Kymberlee Weil for their 805connect project.
The introNetworks concept originally started as an attempt to connect the attendees of the 2003 TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Conference, according to the company’s website. With help from TED’s curator Chris Anderson, introNetwork’s first community was completed just eight weeks after the conference. And four days after its launch, 78 percent of the members had already made use of the network.
Since 2003, introNetworks has created hundreds of similar networks for organizations and companies. In 2014, introNetworks’s 805connect project was set in motion as a joint effort with the Economic Development agencies of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo.
The 805connect project aims to link local leaders and companies in the Tri-Counties to encourage utilizing local resources before looking elsewhere. According to Mark Sylvester, co-founder and CEO, this database centers around helping people connect to businesses or services they are looking for, and offering an outlet for companies and people to give advice to others.
“When we create a network, it is specific to the outcome of the connections that will be made through it,” said Sylvester. “So when building a profile for 805connect, we ask you about what you are experienced in, how you could help others, where you need help, and what you are focused on aspirationally.”