Event | Town of Richmond Hill - Economic Development
Purpose of Project
Richmond Hill supports the health sector through an exclusive event called MedEdge, which takes place every June. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for attendees to gain new insights, discover emerging solutions, and to network with those shaping tomorrow’s MedTech industry landscape in order to propel their business forward. MedEdge is Richmond Hill’s annual Premier Life Sciences Business Summit and is the catalyst for advancing ideas, connections and innovation into commercial success.
After seven successful MedEdge Summits that embraced the free model and attracted a broad audience of 500+ attendees, the event format was reimagined into a paid event to accommodate the demand for more intimate networking and meaningful connections. The 8th Annual MedEdge 2.0 was held on June 19, 2018 in Richmond Hill with an intimate size of just over 150 attendees. The theme was “Finding Partners, Building Connections and Making Sales.” It was an engaging day comprised of networking amongst exhibitors and attendees, and learning opportunities that included a keynote presentation, an expert panel discussion, roundtable discussions, speed networking, and 1-on-1 prescheduled meetings with experts. Overall, MedEdge 2.0 served as a platform for collaboration and innovation.
Effectiveness / Meeting Objectives
MedEdge 2.0 was a resounding success, with over 150 high quality industry professionals, made up of health and life science companies, entrepreneurs, investors, government agencies, hospital representatives and key partners in Ontario’s health sector in attendance. In previous MedEdge events, which were free, we received large registration numbers, and had on average, an 80% show up rate at the event. This year, the event was converted to a paid model for which we charged $50 per attendee, and had a 95% show up rate.
A post-event survey was sent out to both the speakers and attendees. Our roster of speakers, which included entrepreneurs, investors, government agencies, hospital representatives and key partners in Ontario’s health sector, reported that they each had on average three companies follow-up after the event to inquire about their programs or services. Furthermore, the survey also confirmed that more connections, collaborations and potential partnerships were initiated as a result of the more intimate event. (The event was only held a month ago, so it takes time to build relationships and see results.) Here are some of the positive comments received
- “It was dynamic and tightly organized. Good opportunities to network and learn.”
- “Well done! Best networking and product showcase event I have been to in a while! Tons of opportunity to make connections and learn. Excellent”
- “It was a great high-value event for meeting other players in the ecosystem and making new connections!”
- “There was a high level of activity and conversations happening throughout the entire Summit. The roundtables went by very fast, and I have several follow-ups planned.”
Challenges & Changes Made
Initially, it was a challenge to promote the new reformatted event (from tailoring the event for a broad audience of 500+ attendees to an intimate 150 attendee event) and to determine the pricing structure (from a free event to charging $50 per attendee). We had to focus on our communications and to clearly articulate the benefits of the reformatted event, which included limited seating, the ability to meet one-on-one with key industry experts and highlighting the high-calibre of speakers and audience to fulfill the theme of “Finding Partners, Building Connections and Making Sales.” In addition to our own social media and email promotions, our key partners played a significant role in the overall promotional initiative. We created a promotional deck for our partners which included sample emails and social media posts for them to quickly deploy. Lessons learned in the development and implementation of MedEdge 2.0 include the importance of relevant and engaging content, and creating a promotion/invitation strategy to attract the right kind of attendees, due to limited seating. Next year, we plan on maintaining a similar format in order to facilitate meaningful connections. Since we had a waiting list of people wanting to attend, we will redesign the layout of the event in order to expand the attendee size slightly and the ability to include more exhibitors to showcase their innovations.
The target audience includes executives from life sciences companies, hospital administrators, academia, researchers, entrepreneurs, healthcare service providers, investors and government organizations that support entrepreneurs and life science companies.
MedEdge 2.0 was created through a partnership between the Richmond Hill Economic Development team and ventureLAB (one of the province’s regional innovation centres). All planning, material development and event promotions were done in-house (i.e. no external agencies were used). The word “MedEdge” means staying on the cutting edge in the latest medical technologies and innovative products.