The Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) is a network for people and organisations involved in small business and entrepreneurship research, policy, practice, education, support and advice.
Background of event:
The purpose of ISBE is to enable excellence in small business and entrepreneurship across research, policy, practice and learning communities; central to this is its annual, international conference. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017, the ISBE conference has become a vital meeting place for its membership every November, and creates impact and advancement in the entrepreneurship field by supporting research and knowledge exchange and enabling that research to be used in practice and policy.
Interview with Rob Edwards, ISBE:
Why did you choose NewcastleGateshead as the location for your event?
The conference is always hosted by a university, or group of universities, and following their successful proposal, we were delighted to work with such an engaged and enthusiastic team from both Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. It has been many years since we last brought the conference to the North East and there was a great buzz about returning.
What attracted you to choose Crowne Plaza Stephenson Quarter as your main conference venue?
The conference has grown to such a size that we now need substantial accommodation to hold our main keynote sessions, along with breakout rooms for our sixteen subject-specific tracks. The Crowne Plaza provided what we needed and is in a great central location for all our delegates.
How did NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau support you along the way and did the support meet your expectations?
We have worked with many convention bureaux in the past, but the bar has definitely been raised by the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau. From supporting us on our initial visits, through to assisting with the logistics of room hire and accommodation, liaison with venues and on-site help during our event, it has been a pleasure working with Caroline Reed and her team. We have received a prompt and helpful service throughout and would highly recommend them.
Did the venue meet your brief and expectations? If so, how?
Having our opening keynote session in the Boiler Shop, Stephenson Quarter had an amazing impact on our delegates and set the tone perfectly for the rest of the conference. The fact that we were discussing entrepreneurship in the same buildings where Stephenson’s Rocket was built left a great impression on our delegates.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Did your event take any measures to be more sustainable?
Yes, this was the first ISBE conference where we had a specific focus on sustainability. We have historically been a paper-heavy conference so the ISBE board took a leap with our NewcastleGateshead event and we replaced our printed programme with an online app and got rid of our usual delegate bags with their range of printed leaflets. We were also very pleased to work with a local business, BCollective & The Millin Charity, to provide our delegates with reusable, ISBE-branded cups; the response from delegates was fantastic. We are already looking at how we can extend our sustainability offer for our 2020 conference in Cardiff.