StaffConnect's server maintenance has concluded. For further status updates, click here.

Emmanuelle Clément | Industry Feature

May 15, 2023

Embarking on a path powered by curiosity and a passion for connecting people, Emmanuelle Clément delved into the dynamic world of events. With a diverse background spanning industries such as education, business travel, and sustainability, Emmanuelle has a wealth of knowledge to share. Thank you Emmanuelle for sharing your journey, highlighting the challenges you faced, lessons learned, and valuable tips for aspiring entrepreneurs in the industry! Without further ado, let's get into the questions and answers.

Tell us more about your company and your journey, what led you to this industry, and how did you first get started building your business?

I am a people person and my clients tell me that “my expertise in building relationships and working with businesses is shining through”. I love learning languages and studied tourism and management as was curious about the world but then after moving to the UK, I realized I was more interested in getting into meetings and events. I am passionate about helping organizations engage with their customers, suppliers, or employees through learning and making connections.

I started in the education sector. My 1st role was being part of a 2-year EU-funded project supported by multi-disciplinary institutes, SMEs, universities, networks, and private investors promoting industrial growth, awareness, and education in precision engineering and nanotechnologies through training (in-person and online), seminars, and conferences. My 2nd role was Conference Producer strategically planning and producing successful conferences and corporate events on business topics. My 3rd role was to strategically plan, budget, deliver and review events (seminars, business networks' events, special dinners, and leadership programs) to support alumni in developing relationships and opportunities, accessing knowledge, and accelerating personal development. I also took the opportunity to study for an MBA part-time.

I then moved to the business travel sector producing and performing conferences, forums, regional events, and webinars developing best practices, education, engagement, networking, and prospective client research. In between, I volunteered for an NGO planning and managing events and field trips to Asia and Africa to help build trust with current donors and I also freelanced for a few event companies.

More recently I was responsible for a Growth Hub’s events program and promoting the Growth Hub across the region, engaging with and building relationships with local authorities, business support providers, membership organizations, universities, intermediaries, and other key stakeholders. In parallel, I took part in Natwest’s Entrepreneurial Spark program and set up Responsible Events working on it one day a week. Having recognized that event practices can have a significant impact due to factors such as transport, energy use, and waste, I focused on sustainable events as my competitive advantage.

I started building the business by contacting my network and won some projects (event strategy, charity events, and event consultancy). As we say “it is about who you know”. During Covid, I was very busy developing online events for a Growth Hub to support SMEs. Now, I focus on the business fully, engaging and collaborating with relevant stakeholders and investing in continuous learning and improvement.

Responsible Events Help:

  • Marketers and SME CEOs deliver virtual and sustainable in-person event experiences that deliver value to attendees
  • Event Managers manage their events in a more sustainable way by reviewing their existing event management practices, developing an event sustainability strategy, and implementing effective sustainability initiatives

If you could go back and do it over again from the beginning, what would you have done differently?

My parents and my partner had their own businesses so I was inspired by them and had ideas to start a couple of businesses with a colleague/friend some years back during my career but it didn’t materialize. So if I could go back, I would have started my business earlier.

What has been the biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that?

Sustainable events are becoming more popular but some of the main obstacles are Event Managers’ lack of awareness and education, the resistance to change, the complexity and diversity of the event industry, and the trade-offs and conflicts between the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability. There is still a lot of work to do.

What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur?

Curiosity: an entrepreneur's ability to remain curious allows them to continuously seek new opportunities.

Experimentation: with each new opportunity, an entrepreneur must run tests to determine if it’s worthwhile to pursue.

Adaptability: entrepreneurs need to evaluate situations and remain flexible to ensure their business keeps moving forward, no matter what unexpected changes occur.

Decisiveness: To be successful, an entrepreneur has to make difficult decisions and stand by them.

Team building: a great entrepreneur is aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Rather than letting shortcomings hold them back, they build well-rounded teams that complement their abilities.

Risk-taking: entrepreneurship is often associated with risk. While it’s true that launching a venture requires an entrepreneur to take risks, they also need to take steps to minimize it.

Comfortable with failure: in addition to managing risk and making calculated decisions, entrepreneurship requires a certain level of comfort with failure.

What are some of the most important factors for running a successful business?

  1. An innovative business idea
  2. The right talent
  3. Building a personal network
  4. Hard work
  5. Sales

How do you feel the use of technology has helped the growth of your business?

The pandemic has changed the way we communicate, as well as the way we perceive and experience events. Moreover, digital technology has taken a leap forward and is reshaping the events industry with AI, hybrid, contactless, AR/VR, etc. As an Events business, we have learned to use virtual technology (online, hybrid) to grow the business and it is vital to embrace technology to be more efficient, improve attendee engagement and grow the business.

What are some helpful tips for first-time and aspiring entrepreneurs in the industry?

  1. Build a solid business plan
  2. Set a marketing budget
  3. Clearly define your scope of work, mission, and goals
  4. Have your elevator speech ready
  5. Do your market research
  6. Spend time learning tax laws and business filing
  7. Search for business support
  8. Engage with your local ecosystem