Events and entrepreneurship are two words increasingly going hand in
hand, with the MICE industry keen to demonstrate the extent to which it
is at the cutting-edge of innovation, technology and thought leadership.
Just last month, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC)
forged a partnership with Startup Victoria, aimed at connecting the
local startup community, experts and entrepreneurs with the events
industry, to explore opportunities.
This has thus far produced a ‘Health & Wellbeing Pitch Night’,
where the venue hosted presentations from startups that are improving
health and wellbeing in innovative ways. For Stephanie Martin, head of
sales at MCEC, and manager of the venue’s innovation team, the tie-up
creates an opportunity for the venue to strengthen its knowledge in the
“Our aim is to leverage this relationship and the expertise it
provides to inform how we can innovate and ideate around new offerings
and experiences that benefit our customers,” says Martin. “In turn, we
offer Startup Victoria access to our venue, people, community partners,
and the influence and expertise of ambassadors and thought leaders.”
Martin adds that MCEC has an opportunity to leave a positive legacy
through the events it runs and it can achieve this through ventures like
“When people gather, they exchange ideas and enter dialogues that can
help to solve problems," she adds. "Events can create an environment
that fosters collaboration and innovation to tackle the world’s
problems, great and small.”
For Kai Hattendorf, managing director and CEO of UFI, the global
association of the exhibition industry, exhibition and event organisers
build and operate the meeting places and the market places for each and
every industry and community. By serving multiple industries, he says
the industry is often the first to spot the rise of new cross-industrial
trends and topics.
“We can create events that focus specifically on these issues, and
help them grow into their own industries,” he says. “It is a
never-ending cycle of innovation. It is key for every event to evolve
with the needs and expectations of the community or industry that the
[Events are] a never ending cycle of innovation. It is key for every event to evolve with the needs and expectations of the community or industry that the event serves.
Kai Hattendorf, managing director and CEO, UFI
Hattendorf says UFI fosters this thinking through its ‘Next
Generation Leadership’ grant programme, which selects five rising
leaders from the industry from all over the world.
“We set them off on an eight-month mission to evolve our industry and
this year the mission is to write a new ‘blueprint’ on how to operate
events that help industries evolve, help businesses to trade and learn,
and help every participant to benefit personally from being there,” he
Tapping into cutting-edge technology is another reason for companies
in the events sector to forge partnerships, as such collaboration can
often be more cost-effective than building something in-house.
Meanwhile, startups also gain access to the experience and customer base
of established companies, allowing them to rapidly scale their products
“This enables us to be more agile in responding to changing market
conditions and adapting to new trends,” says Rachel Lunderborg, senior
director, global process & technology at CWT Meetings & Events.
“Given the incredibly diverse array of meetings and events - from
corporate employee gatherings, to industry trade shows and
consumer-facing product launches, our industry reaches an extremely
broad audience. This presents a tremendous opportunity to innovate and
experiment with new and emerging technologies."
Given the growing focus on making events more sustainable, CWT says
it is collaborating with a leading green tech startup to introduce some
innovative solutions in this area.
Phil Boyle, SVP, managing director at Jack Morton Asia says brands
are particularly eager to stay ahead of the innovation curve in the
region, making events a prime hotbed for new ideas and concepts to be
shared and discussed.
It remains imperative for the events industry to also forge partnerships with entrepreneurs and tap into their regional startup sector, as startups are more willing to experiment with disruptive and impactful concepts for the greater innovation community in Asia.
Phil Boyle, SVP, managing director, Jack Morton Asia
“It remains imperative for the events industry to also forge
partnerships with entrepreneurs and tap into their regional startup
sector, as startups are more willing to experiment with disruptive and
impactful concepts for the greater innovation community in Asia,” says
He adds that brands are also driving more business objectives with
overarching event analytics to measure end-to-end event impact, which
includes capturing guest sentiment and sales conversions, as well as
“The use of innovative technology such as AI, virtual and augmented
reality, mobile event apps, and event management software are becoming
increasingly popular in the Asian events industry,” he says.
“Consumers want technology that can not only enhance their experience
and engagement, but which also individualises their preferences, and
delights them with interactive displays, immersive installations and
digital engagement tools that all lead to an extended takeaway.”