Event management: International challenge of organizing PowerUp!
Organizing an event is a demanding task, even for a logistics master. When an event is complex and is happening across Europe, you need to double your efforts, seek for unconventional improvements, event management tips and master the art of making it work. How to connect communication between separate events and not go crazy? InnoEnergy, organizers of the PowerUp! 2018, are here to tell you about how they recently managed to do so.
Challenges of the global event management
One of the things that make an event successful is good coordination of its separate compounds. Schedule, speakers, locations, catering – it all needs to be well prepared in order to be enjoyable for both – organizers and attendees. Another thing is to keep an eye on the flow of information that can constantly change and make sure everyone knows all the vital information.
Things get even more complicated when the event you coordinate is held in different countries. Luckily, we live in times when technology works for us. It can help organizers to deal with the problem of coordinating information updates and manage international events so they work perfectly fine.
The situation mentioned above was the struggle of our guest, Natalia Stec. She faced the problem of enhancing and automating the process of updating multiple websites of the same event. She was looking for a solution to make the process more intuitive, easier and less time absorbing for the organizers. We talked with Natalia about creating and organizing the 2018 edition of PowerUp!, one of the biggest competitions for cleantech startups that takes place in 24 European countries.
Natalia Stec – Marketing and Communications Specialist at InnoEnergy Central Europe. Natalia graduated from the University of Economics in Krakow, where she majored in Congresses and Big Events Management and joined the InnoEnergy team in 2017. She’s responsible for coordinating marketing and PR activities in 12 countries. She’s a member of the team, which organizes PowerUp! – the biggest competition for cleantech startups organized in 24 CEE countries. So far, she completed two editions of the competition.
InnoEnergy is a fund investing in cleantech, mobility and smart solutions. Through knowledge, financing and a network of contacts, it supports partners’ access to international markets.
InnoEnergy is active and recognized in 40 countries, cooperating with over 300 partners – the largest industrial companies, leading research and academic centers, as well as innovative entrepreneurs, investing over €100 million annually. Over the past seven years, InnoEnergy has invested in projects adding up to the value of €2 billion. Thanks to its support, 80 products have been launched on to the market.
Eventory: First of all, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s talk about InnoEnergy’s recent big event. What was it about, where and when did it take place and who were your attendees?
Natalia Stec: PowerUp! is a contest addressed to cleantech, mobility and energy storage startups. It’s organized for 4 years and it is focused on a broadly defined energy sector. It takes place in 24 different countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This year, we have received 299 applications. Thanks to the fact that we have our hubs in 12 countries across Europe we were able to reach a bigger number of startups that met our requirements – such as a new product or service with a maximum 2 years of entering the market, secured IP and a dedicated team. This year’s Grand Final of PowerUP! 2018 took place on the 19th of June in Prague.
Eventory: What was the main goal of the event?
Natalia Stec: Our main goal of PowerUp! is to find startups with innovative products that we can help and work with. Its purpose is to attract startups that are not grown enough to cooperate with big corporations but, at the same time, we don’t look for startups with just an idea – we have specific requirements that a startup has to meet.
Before the Grand Final, we organize multiple Country Finals – for specific countries. In order to organize a Country Final we have to find at least 7 startups which meet our expectations. This year it happened in 15 countries. The winners from the Country Finals went to Prague for the Grand Final. Often, even the startups that didn’t manage to get to the Grand Final, get our attention and we are able to invite the team to join our InnoEnergy Highway acceleration programme.
Eventory: Did you achieve this objective?
Natalia Stec: The number of candidates to join our programme already outnumbered last year’s edition. We’ve already invited a couple of startups to the Highway and we are still having conversations with a couple more. So as you see, we’re not focused just on the winners of the competition but are willing to invest in projects that, in our opinion, have potential. Even before the Grand Final, our representants contacted companies that competed in the Country Finals. Looking at all of this I’m not afraid to say that we achieved our goal. In comparison to last year, I would say that we even doubled it despite the short break between events.
Eventory: Sounds really great! What were the methods and tools you used in managing global event?
Natalia Stec: Well, we were really determined to organize it. Especially, because we had less time to make everything work as a result of changing the date from October to June. I joined the team last year and PowerUp! 2017 was my model project. I learned how to organize it step by step, so this year I knew exactly what to do from my own experience. It was demanding as we don’t have separate marketing or PR departments, which would take care of part of the work. We did everything from scratch by ourselves. I am sure that the excellent results were achieved thanks to the really strong commitment of the whole team.
Eventory: Totally agree! Individual approach and experience seem to be the key. Could you say what part Eventory played in organizing PowerUp!?
Natalia Stec: For us, the hardest part was to successfully manage our event website. It’s difficult because we need to have different sites for multiple events in different countries. It was our main struggle for years. We were using the help of an outside company that handled all the web settings. But the communication was a problem. The flow of information depended on too many people – first, local organizers needed to sent us changes, then we needed to pass it on to the other company and even then we couldn’t be sure if they would update it on time. It was a nightmare, and the changes sometimes needed to be done immediately because there was a last minute change. Otherwise, how would an attendee or contestant know when and where to be? So we struggled and were looking for a solution. That’s where Eventory came to help. With the Eventory platform, each of our Central European partners called Hubs got the ability to put information with no need for us to interfere. All we needed to do was check if they actually did it. Also, the company that is managing our websites had everything gathered in one place.
Eventory: And, were there any sub-goals you achieved?
Natalia Stec: I think that the first moment that our whole team really high-fived was when we got the applications for the contest. Last year, we received 158 submissions. This year, after only 6 months from the previous edition, it was 299. And it was the same competition, same rules, same main theme of the contest. It was certainly a great success. This way we got the proper base of startups to choose from! Also, we see the improvement in the organizational aspects of both the Country and Grand Finals. When unknown people are telling you during an event they are really enjoying it and praise you for organizing it when the chairman and investors congratulate you – then you know you did make it work!
Eventory: This year’s event was a great success. What’s next?
Natalia Stec: PowerUp! will take place in June from now on, but we don’t know the place of the event yet. We plan to keep the level of our event and constantly improve it to make the experience of PowerUp! even better. Also, we want to at least maintain the number of applications on the current level. It’s not entirely up to us as there are many factors that can reduce it even with the best promotion. But we hope for even better results in the future. Now that we have our experience in international event management, certain standards and methods, we can focus on the development and improvement of our events. We definitely learned our lessons and will use this knowledge.
Eventory: We wish you that! Once again, thank you for your time and good luck.
Natalia Stec: Thank you.
The struggles are real when you’re dealing with such a complex group of events as the organizers of PowerUp!. Having everything under control is hard, even when you know the aims and objectives of event management and have a team to work it out. Users of Eventory know that the key to keep track of every aspect and not go mad is to have everything in one place. This will not only let you coordinate all of the actions but also will give you a chance to control everything with ease and peace of mind. Next time you face the threat of a global event, be sure you have Eventory with you.