Conference & Meetings World Issue 102 - Page 23

Strategy Canada’s magnificent 7 Key sectors drive meetings and events in vertical shift anada is blazing a new conference trail, bringing its inward investment teams together with its conference ambassadors and business events advocates as national agency Business Events Canada’s Executive Director, Chantal Sturk-Nadeau and Director of Business Development Virginie de Visscher explained to CMW’s Iain Stirling recently during London Tech Week. CMW: How have things progressed, on the technology side of things in particular, since London Tech Week last year and your ‘Innovate Canada’ event in Montreal? CSN: We’re constantly looking at our main seven sectors in terms of getting all the collateral and support materials to be able to help build the tools to tell our Canada story. Last year was technology. London Tech Week (LTW) was our first event, so after that there was a continuation of a deeper dive into tech on what we achieved. All the rest is about building six other profiles of sectors – Canada’s aerospace industry, Canada’s natural resources, etc. So, those deep dives, that knowledge of Canada that you’re seeing right now (technology, life sciences) is a display of each sector. We have some very good wins out of technology - the biggest being the World Summit AI, and that came from exhibiting at LTW last year. looking to expand on their European operations and launch a North American version of the show. We were competing against the US and we showed them why AI is really strong in Canada and why we would be the best hosts. We invited them to Canada, they visited both Toronto and Montreal and were shown the strength of our AI ecosystem. They ended up choosing Montreal and booked a four-year event. They had their launch event in April this year with 1,000 attendees. We’re building a case study with them to showcase how that worked and they’re looking to grow that within four years to 6,000 people. A true success story that came out of the tech sector focus and being at LTW. Last year it was just the two of us at LTW; this year we have five cities partnering. CSN: As a national tourism organisation, we’re also working very closely with our invest agency, Invest in Canada. This doesn’t happen in many parts of the world. They lean on us, too, to find out how they can help. We share leads and opportunities whether it’s for business events, to trade, to invest and how do those business events become a catalyst for future trade and investment. Now we have a sizeable booth with Invest in Canada at LTW. We have presented to a full house every day. Some were tech companies looking for investment or something of that sort, but ended up going, ‘Yes that makes sense, how do we bring our convention to Canada and take that next step’. So, we’re still going to work the technology strategy, but now in 2019 we’ve introduced life sciences. Top: Chantal Sturk- Nadeau, Business Events Canada’s VdV: So, at this year’s Innovate Canada, we tried to attract international C-Suite executives from corporations and Executive Director Above: Virginie de Visscher, Director of Business Development VdV: The World Summit AI is organised by British company Inspired Minds. We connected at LTW last year and worked with the High Commission for Canada in London. They were Left: The Montreal McConnell Brain Imaging Centre ISSUE 102 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / 23