Sydney’s Change Agenda helping associations to ‘Meet with Purpose’

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Business Event Sydney (BESydney) and International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) have been leading the way in business events for 65 years (55 years and 10 years respectively). Their trusted leadership in the impact of business events has meant the organisations are at the forefront of a new era of business events that focus on the purpose of business events, beyond direct expenditure.

As BESydney builds on its 10 years of beyond tourism benefit research – calling out knowledge transfer, talent attraction and direct foreign investment so too does ICC Sydney by expanding its Legacy Program year on year that allows its clients to deliver meaningful events that consider sustainability; diversity, equity, and inclusion and focus on First Nations Peoples.

BESydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith said, “There is a global responsibility to delivering business events. As Sydney’s DMO and its leading venue, we work with Associations to deliver impact and deliver it well. We see our role as two-fold by facilitating an event with purpose, social impact and knowledge exchange while also creating an impact foundation that can be built upon at the next meeting – wherever that may be held.  We want the change we spark in Sydney to grow globally – hence our Change Starts Here Agenda”.

ICC Sydney CEO and Group Director – Convention Centres, ASM Global (APAC) Geoff Donaghy said, “Reflecting on a decade long milestone, some of ICC Sydney’s greatest achievements have been in connecting our community to the world. We welcome diverse delegates and offer world-class services to accommodate the needs of all. Beyond room nights and job creation, our proudest moments have been making a difference to visitors and businesses. Sharing Australia’s First Nations story, our newly launched Disability Inclusion Action Plan, our leadership in prioritising the planet through sustainability initiatives and giving back to our local and global community”.

“Together we have established great trust with international organisations and strive to continue to be a force for good. Push boundaries in what our industry can and should be doing and to have uncomfortable conversations. Business events bring key stakeholders to the table that can change legislation, researchers to solve medical issues or climate change. We want to facilitate Associations adopting a new approach to delivering for their delegates,” said Lewis-Smith.

“ICC Sydney’s recent research with McCrindle proves that Associations will need to continue to evolve as delegates’ requirements change. We know that social impact outcomes will not be a nice to have, but a standard practice expectation for delegates,” said Donaghy.

The Agenda also extends to playing an active role in advancing our industry globally. In 2023, BESydney, in partnership with PCMA Foundation, undertook research on Advancing Women in Business Events to set a global baseline for change to the hypothesis that the global events industry workforce is 70% powered by women while only 30% led by women.

“We are challenging our industry to step up and create ‘seats at the leadership table’ that reflect the workforce. Research helps us to understand the problems and highlight what’s required for real change, but we can only solve those problems by working together as a global business events industry. We know real impact is not about working in isolation. Business events are all about working together to solve the greatest challenges in the world today,” Lewis-Smith said.

In 2023, BESydney trialled a new framework for impact with FDI Dental Association during its conference at ICC Sydney and the results were discussed at the IMEX Association Power Hour session with Laetitia Reymond from FDI World Dental. Impact details can be found in FDI Dental Association results and case study. This is one of a number of major events the two organisations were involved in that had significant impact implications.

The Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference that BESydney and ICC Sydney were also involved in delivered groundbreaking impact with results that are still influencing funding, legislation and awareness.

BESydney and ICC Sydney as business event partners are tapping into the heart of Sydney’s DNA in a positive way on a joint quest to use business events to solve some of the biggest challenges our planet faces.

BESydney’s Impact Strategy will be released in Q3 2024.

Through ICC Sydney’s international brand equity, strong relationships with BESydney, state and national destination marketing agencies and directly with corporate, government and association event organisers, the venue already has 1,126 events in the calendar to 2034 for 4.7 million attendees.




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