Last time we congratulated SETsquared – the Partnership of five UK Univesities has been ranked Number One University business incubator in the world. Business incubators are not recent phenomenon, but it’s only few of them recognised as the best. It’s no surprise though: it is a combination of many factors that lead to such success. First of all, the right strategy, as well as a team of high qualified professionals who provide various support to startups and entrepreneurs. Events are one of the key tools in the business incubator work and thus are key to the startups’ development. However, it is not a one-way street. Read more and learn, why.
How do events contribute to startups development? Events for startups are:
- a tool to attract investors: one bright example is Investment Showcase, which aims to showcase the best incubator’s companies (which are carefully selected, trained, consulted and as a result represent the diamond collection) to the established and reputable investors (and surely, this is of utmost important for any startup)
- a way to find partners: it’s not a rare case that while participating in an event, an entrepreneur can find the missing part for their team or idea. Sometimes it turns out the partners-to be have worked in the nearby offices but did not meet up before. The event has brought them together and made their businesses thrive.
- a marketing tool: surely, taking part in events is a good way to increase your brand visibility, make wider audience learn about your company. It’s somehow an informational all-inclusive: the event itself usually has wide media coverage both offline and online, so you naturally just build on this.
- a sales tool: naturally, networking at events is a good opportunity to market your services. Besides, it is more and more often now that startups become partners in holding events, and their product/services can be tested at the event planning stage or on-site.
It’s worth noting here that there are huge number of events but only few can be useful in terms of participating as a partner or an attendee. Why? I believe it is due to the fact that the best events are the natural element of the general strategy of an organisation. And this is the only way (surely subject to due level of planning and organising) to achieve the effective results. Again, the bright example mentioned earlier – SETsquared – Investment Showcase.
Apart from its practical goal – showcasing the best “products” (=companies) of the incubator to the investor community, the event is the pinnacle of the hard work of selecting ideas and startups, trainings, screening out, searching for the individual solutions, searching for partners, doing PR and so on. In the end we get investors, entrepreneurs and the team all most happy with the result. If talking numbers, it sounds like that: 10 years of holding the event=over £120 million of investments=over 200 participant companies (as of 2013). Impressive isn’t it?
However as I said in the beginning, it’s not a one-way street. Startups also play important role in the development of event industry. How? Startups (we mean high tech here) are:
- a source of new tech and other kind of solutions, adopted in the events industry
- a source of the new concepts – it’s well known that many innovative concepts have come from IT area and are used by the eventprofs.
What conclusions can we make here?
- If you are am entrepreneur or leading a startup, take a closer look at events: hold your own event, even a small one, but always incorporate them into your company’s strategy. Or go take part in events of your topic/area. However, be choiceful: you really need to attend the best ones only, otherwise it might be a waste of money which is a precious resource of a startup.
- If you are an event organiser, take a closer look at startups: perhaps, some of them can be your long-term good partners. Or just follow the news from IT: it can be the right source for new ideas 🙂