Where is the love?
By Meena Chander, director of Events Together
Events are great, we all know that. Events bring people together and create a community - whether that’s around a chosen topic, within an industry or a certain location. As the world changes and evolves we need to see new events created to appeal to new audiences that cover new topics. But new events do not just appear; they need to be nurtured, encouraged and supported by a whole infrastructure – by a complete network of people, companies and organisations.
Or at least they should be.
New events need a lot of help to just get off the ground but this help is sadly lacking in our country. DMOs and local governments should be getting behind the new events that are taking place in their cities; they need to support them and encourage them because they so greatly impact on the local community. I’m not necessarily talking about financial investment, but the other ways in which they can support and help a fledgling organiser. Things such as introductions to like-minded companies and to organisations that can help open doors, by helping to spread the word, showing support by helping to launch new events, including an event in all their marketing communications and maybe actually bringing attendees to the event.
There are many, many challenges to overcome when creating a new event; sponsors may not be keen to invest in an event without a track record, speakers may be reticent to work with an unknown organiser, and of course the delegates have to be convinced that the event will deliver.
Speaking as an entrepreneur who has created my own conferences, creating an event from scratch is tough. It simply isn’t a case of ‘build it and they will come’. It takes a great deal of investment of money, time and effort to create and launch a new event. It takes passion and drive to be an entrepreneur, to put your head above the parapet and to invest your own blood, sweat and tears (and of course your own money) into creating a new event. I’m proud of being such a person, but I long for the day that there is more help from the organisations responsible for bringing business into a city will help because they will, in the long term hugely benefit from these events.
Other countries seem to get it right – they seem to have a lot more external support for all of their events – old and new, perhaps they appreciate the positive impact that new and vibrant events bring, or perhaps they just approach their events with a more joined-up way of thinking.
Our local governments and DMOs need to step up, to appreciate the benefits that new events bring to their communities – and I don’t just mean paying lip service, but to properly get behind and support the start up events that are being created in and impact on their destinations. So many of them are simply doing the same old things and even if they do actually support a few events, it’s always the same old events! We need them to adopt a different and more diverse perspective, to take a new look at what’s out there and to support the new and vibrant. Sadly I see the same old people supporting the same old events which will in turn bring the same old results.
So be positive and look to the new – we all have to start somewhere and we all should remember that great things grow from tiny acorns but only if they receive the love and support they need.