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Mash Media MD Julian Agostini on a fresh direction for the Industry Expansion Initiative. The Industry Expansion Initiative (IEI) was established for the greater good of exhibitions in the UK. After numerous consultations with its many supporters, I personally focused on visiting event management students across the country to make sure exhibitions were getting fair representation – which, it’s fair to say, was not happening. At a recent IEI meeting, we discussed trying to target the lecturers, and that is probably a more efficient use of our pooled resources. However, recent developments have led to a reappraisal of our direction. The Eventice, a laudable competition that sees students face a number of challenges in order to secure a job within the industry, will now be run alongside Mash Media’s Event Production Show. The Apprentice-style show is backed by the industry, and is a user-friendly format that attracts quality entrants. So with academia seemingly covered, and the brightest of the new crop enticed towards shiny exhibitions rather than muddy festivals, I felt we should be casting our net wider. When I first came up with the idea of the IEI, one of the main aims was to generate more shows. I thought this would be best achieved by supporting small organisers, and by bringing new organisers into the market. However, recent reports from such ‘independents’ suggest that this is a lost cause. I have heard desperate tales from two small organisers who found themselves the victims of their own success.Having spotted an opportunity, taken all of the risk and sweated blood to make their shows happen, they then had them “stolen” by the big boys. This can be easily dismissed as the nature of business, but it is also no way for us to get more players in the market, and some fresh ideas. With that in mind, the IEI will now aim to be a body that actively supports new shows by leveraging our partnerships and position. Need a venue? We can help with that? Don’t know where to start with shell scheme? We do. The IEI will act as a catalyst to nurture new shows by bringing stakeholders together in joint ventures, and try to secure third-party funding. We also hope that IEI backing will help ward off any unwelcome attention should those shows succeed. We all need to give a little to make a difference, and to keep our industry alive.The IEI is supported by the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Perton Signs, N200, Moyne Exhibitions, Earls Court and Olympia Venues, Compass Group, ASP and Peterborough Arena. If you’d like to know more about the IEI or want to support it, please email: jagostini@mashmedia.net This was first published in the October issue of EN. Any comments? E-mail exhibitionnews@mashmedia.net

Julian Agostini
Posted by Julian Agostini
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