The 2018 WeWork Creators Awards brought out some of the most innovative people in Nashville. Florida Georgia Line, Ashton Kutcher and Dia Simms, president of Diddy’s Combs Enterprises, were on the judges’ panel as each group of dream makers pitched their business ideas live on stage in hopes of winning a cash prize to advance their ideas.
But before the awards were dished out, a marketplace of creative local vendors took over the street outside Nashville’s Marathon Music Works, offering many unique products from vegan nail polish to donated military uniforms that have been turned into accessories.It
The Creator Awards event was about more than brilliant ideas, shining a spotlight on leaders who are not only generating an interesting product, but creating impact. It was an evening of unity and lifting one another up.
Here are five of the most inspiring moments we experienced at Nashville’s WeWork Creator Awards.
1.“People who know about work know a little bit about pain.”
“Ambition is the road, the work is the fuel that gets us there.”
Who knew Ashton Kutcher was such an inspiring speaker? The famed actor opened the show with a 15-minute monologue that not only demonstrated his ambition and gift for motivational speaking, but sent a surge of energy and inspiration into the crowd. Kutcher delivered several inspirational gems such as those throughout the night, motivating the crowd with his words of wisdom.
2. Live pitches
Going into the event, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. What followed was a high-energy evening that culminated in the live pitching portion where six different entrepreneurs got on stage in front of the judging panel, and audience of more than 2,000 people, to explain their business model in one minute. They were then subjected to a three-minute rapid fire round of questions from the judges to dissect the concept even further. Some of the most fascinating ideas presented include Loomia, a company that manufactures a fabric that detects heat and light and can respond to its surroundings, like adding extra heat to your coat when it’s cold out.
Queen of Raw founder Stephanie Benedetto moved the audience with her mission of saving unused fabrics from landfills by creating a platform where retailers post their unwanted materials that can be purchased by other designers. The environmentally sound concept made her the grand prize winner of $360,000. Hearing such influential ideas from people who could change the world was invigorating.
3. “The only thing standing in the way of achieving what you want is you”
WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann served up just as much inspiration as Kutcher did, going above and beyond to help others’ ambitions become a reality. On top of this sobering statement, Neumann made Sarah McConnell’s dream come true by granting her the $50,000 she needed to expand her Music For Seniors program from impacting 30,000 people yearly to 100,000.
4. Melanie Faye
This guitar prodigy needs to be on your radar. The 19-year-old Nashville native learned how to play guitar when she was 12 and caught people’s attention after a video of her playing guitar went viral in 2017. Faye delivered an impressive opening set before the Creators Awards commenced, wowing the audience with her undeniable gift. She was also the recipient of the well-deserved Performing Arts Award, along with $18,000.
5. Love Everywhere
Spending just two minutes with Love Everywhere founder Ashley Reale, it’s clear the company wass born out of passion. While we were intrigued by Reale’s display of charming notecards and merchandise at the marketplace, we were even more inspired by her story. Based in Nashville, Love Everywhere follows the “pay it forward” model where someone writes a hand-written note of encouragement that can travel as far as the next town over or end up across the world. Reale started the company after years of working a grueling job in the fashion industry and was looking for a way to spread love. It’s missions like these that show what you can create when you follow your passion.