Online events quickly cementing themselves as the norm
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
“We have one (attendee) from every continent coming to startup week—which would never happen had we done a fully in-person event.”
One of the aspects of life that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected has been people’s ability to network with one another in-person. This has caused many organizations who host in-person events to deal with a double-edged sword; a virtual experience doesn’t quite replicate the in-person experience, but many could still feel very cautious about attending in-person events.
“Having spoken to a few people, I really had second thoughts about doing a meet-and-greet. It doesn’t seem right to me,” said Nick Rockel, editor-in-chief of BCBusiness magazine in an interview with the Other Press, who has attended one small, socially distanced gathering amid the pandemic.
However, organizations like the BC Tech Association and Vancouver Startup Week have somehow found new ways to pivot in such times.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, we saw opportunities to bring the community together like never before,” said President and CEO of the BC Tech Association Jill Tipping in an interview with the Other Press.
“We supplemented our enhanced social media channels and weekly newsletters by initiating weekly virtual town halls. This enabled participants from across BC to learn about relevant government updates, discuss how the programming impacts their business, receive guidance from thought leaders, and ask questions about the resources available to them. It was a way to come together, stay connected, and solve problems,” she said.
Tipping also said the organization launched programs such as HyperTalent, HyperTech, HyperGrowth, HyperScale, and HyperGlobal in order to help ensure support for tech companies and companies looking to adopt technology.
In early October, Vancouver Startup Week wrapped up their annual weeklong event entirely on a virtual event platform called “hopin,” which gave a good opportunity for those outside of Vancouver to attend.
“Minus Antarctica, we have one (attendee) from every continent coming to startup week—which would never happen had we done a fully in-person event,” said co-chair of Vancouver Startup Week, Vivian Chan in an interview with the Other Press.
Chan also said that some global participants attended because they were considering moving to Vancouver and wanted to get a sense of the environment that the city brings and who they could potentially network with should they make that decision.
It will be interesting to see if transitioning to virtual networking and virtual events will completely overtake the in-person event and networking experience in the coming years.