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by Paige Brala in #MakeThingsHappen
July 22, 2019 0 comments

You have to be ready for the random conversation that could change your life”


CONNECTING:

Oneal never meant to become a Venture Café Philadelphia regular, but little did he know he would become a dedicated ambassador and most recently a speaker. Oneal heard about Venture Café Philadelphia from a friend in March of  2019. His intended one-time trip to 3675 Market Street has turned into 13+ visits to VC Philly. 

His second visit was our Cannabis night, where he saw his field in action and learned more about the infancy of the Cannabis industry in Pennsylvania. Since his foray into the Venture Café community, Oneal has launched his consulting business in Philadelphia, taking on various projects, many of which have been sparked by “serendipitous collisions” at the weekly Thursday Gatherings and knowledge from Venture Café. To him, Venture Café Philadelphia has been a “trampoline to get to the next level” and could be the same for anyone who is prepared for these conversations. 

INNOVATORS:

If asked about his superpower, Oneal would say he can connect dots that others can’t see. You can regularly see him smiling behind the kiosks and making introductions among new (1)s (will people know right away what 1s means or should we say first-timers?) and regulars every week. Connecting people and dots is not new to Oneal; he has done this throughout his career.

Oneal, a West Philadelphia native, served in the U.S. Army and then moved to California to work in the technology industry. After a couple of years, he did a 180०, moved to Northern California and became immersed in the farming and agtech industry, ultimately sparking an interest in the hemp industry. Today he is the founder and CEO of Eastern Hemp Company and recently gave a fireside chat on “Growing a Local Economy” with Judy Wicks. 

TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN:

Oneal came into our #ThursdayGatheringPHL with ideas and put them into action by collaborating to launch projects across the city and state. First, Oneal has been consulting with Nottingham Farms in Chester, PA to become a regional hemp producer. He hopes to bring this technology and ideas to more parts of the region. Secondly, Oneal is an active member of the Proud Pennsylvania Hemp Local Supply Chain Coalition. Their goal is to keep hemp production local to Pennsylvania; this includes everything from the growing to the production to the selling of the goods. His personal hope is that “hemp can be Pennsylvania’s product” and help boost the local economy. 

Oneal’s advice to newcomers is “You have to be ready for the random conversation that could change your life,” and he has brought this mentality into his entire Venture Café experience. SO be ready for those random conversations, who knows how they might change your life. 

Connect with Oneal


If you want to share your story with the Venture Café Community, please contact hello@venturecafephiladelphia.org and we look forward to seeing everyone each and every Thursday at 3675 Market Street from 3-8pm.

Cheers, The Venture Café Philly Team

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