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International STEM Association's move to create specialists to run conferences with real outcomes.

New York, USA The international association representing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cities with a STEM agenda (STEM States Incorporated), has announced today that it has contracted the Global Industry Development Network to assist in the establishment and training of a Meetings Industry International Taskforce for STEM Conferences.

The taskforce will include up to a dozen international associations as well as meetings industry suppliers, and will work on providing specialist STEM industry knowledge and skills to suppliers interested in hosting or managing conferences in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“This is a great initiative which will mean we are clear on who the world’s leading suppliers are for STEM conferences and meetings” says Professor Dr Nader Barsoum, President of the Asia Pacific Society for Hybrid Technologies and Energy and one of the organisations backing this specialist training of meeting industry suppliers.

The reason behind the taskforce was explained.

“The information age has led to some remarkable changes and this has meant that governments, associations and companies have the opportunity to better use conferences as a catalyst for growth. However, there is a divide between what we are really trying to achieve through our conferences; what suppliers frequently offer; and equally about what associations think are available to us as meeting organisers. We see that it would be advantageous to all associations in the fields of STEM to have specialised suppliers available to them who actually know where we are heading and what we actually need” says David Goncalves, President of STEM States Incorporated.

“Just take one of our big picture goals. Imagine the role of a teacher changing over the coming decade, from that of an information provider to more a co-ordinator role as students sit behind ipads and tablets and work through units at their own pace, with the teacher downloading update reports and assigning students into work groups on a daily basis, based on the students actual needs”.

Governments around the world are starting to move down the path of implementing tablets in classrooms right now, and there are a range of ways this agenda can be progressed or developed through conferences. The technology is available right now and with the right pitch Governments and industry would fund these technologies at conferences. The problem is that there is a miss match between how the meetings industry sells these services and what associations or corporate meeting organisers know is available and how they can be funded.

So our goal is clear. We aim to spend 12 months training up meeting industry suppliers on the needs of the STEM conference sector; how to inform and to upsell correctly to them; and how and where they can obtain the funds to use these products in their conference.

The aim is to have a specialist suppliers list which can be circulated amongst international associations and organisations listing who can not only help them to organise their conference or meeting, but can really help them make the meeting something which achieves their development goals.

“Conferences are more than just meetings” says Scott Campbell, Executive Director of the Global Industry Development Network, “Conferences are powerful tools for economic and social development. As an industry, we need to be offering the services and skills that enable meeting and conference organisers to achieve the real outcomes they are looking for, not just limit these based on what products and services they think are available and they can afford”.

 “It does come down to financials” continues Campbell, “most associations look at these new technologies and believe they can’t afford them, but the reality is that many of these tools are perfectly aligned with the State’s or industries direction, and they would get behind their funding and use if only they knew about them and what the flow on benefits of using them actually would be”.

“As such, we plan to work with industry to assist them to get in the door of associations and to showcase not what the product does, but rather what the product could do to support in the bigger picture of growing the industry”.

The project team is calling on suppliers such as convention bureaus, convention centres and venues, hotels, professional conference organisers, destination management companies, and technology suppliers to contact us if they would like to start now on positioning themselves as specialists in STEM conferences.

Participants accepted into the taskforce will be asked to attend a monthly 1 hour video call and training, and participate in an annual 2 day training conference hosted as part of the STEMfest event. After 12 months the organisation will be certified and included on the STEM Sector Specialist Suppliers List. In addition, the project will have financial benefits, with all participants being given access to the GNR8 business matching app where they can download new business leads over the 12 months and put their new network and skills to work on business development.

Meetings industry suppliers can contact us for more information or to register to participate in the taskforce at info@globalidn.com

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