The pandemic of 2020/2021 created business challenges like never before – and many legacies for the business world. Some of those legacies have been entirely positive and in this Skills Showcase we will share with you how Debbie Frith helped her client embrace hybrid events.
Dorset Business Angels Network Limited (DBA) provide quality, private equity investment opportunities to local High Net Worth Individuals and Sophisticated Investors. DBA helps early-stage businesses find equity capital, especially in southern England, by bringing investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses.
DBA have been a client of The Passionate PA’s for many many years. Our Dorset based franchisee Debbie has worked with them for 6 years and over that time her role has grown to become their marketing manager alongside additional operational responsibility.
The Initial Problem
Prior to the pandemic, DBA ran a fully in-person events programme. Then, when the pandemic came and business had to continue, Debbie helped the DBA directors take the entire programme online.
A further opportunity emerged in the form of hybrid events at the end of 2021.
DBA has a loyal and engaged membership base who love to attend Pitch Events in-person and seek investment opportunities. Throughout the pandemic, DBA also gained a whole new audience online, one not restricted by geography or travel.
The challenge was finding a way to serve both these audiences going forward, giving the entrepreneurs pitching their ideas the best possible opportunity to gain the investment they are looking for.
Debbie worked tirelessly with the DBA Directors to scope out an event plan that would cater for both the investors who loved to attend in-person events and the investors who were keen to watch the pitches from the comfort of their own desks.
The perfect solution was to run a version of a hybrid event. Live streaming felt a step too far – with so many technical hurdles to overcome, so we investigated videoing the pitches and hosting them on the DBA website Pitch Portal instead.
Debbie said: “With a relatively simple set up of cameras and tripods, I was event manager and cameraman for the evening! The next day I downloaded and edited the videos, sending them to DBA’s webmaster to work his magic rendering, compressing and posting to the website.”
By adapting and working this way, Debbie and the DBA team have created a new outlet for sharing the entrepreneurs’ pitches with a very engaged and varied audience.
For the first event of it’s type at the end of 2021, Debbie also managed 6 weeks of pre and post event marketing via Mailchimp, the DBA website, PR channels and LinkedIn.
Well, aside from the first in-person event, post-pandemic, being a success – with 5 entrepreneurial pitches and 12 expressions of interest from investors – DBA has gone on to permanently adopt this new approach to events.
DBA have welcomed new members because of this hybrid approach and it’s giving entrepreneurs a greater opportunity to find their perfect investor.
Peter Eales, one of the founder directors of DBA adds “we’ve been doing face-to-face events since 1st May 2012, so nearly 10 years now. DBA has tried various formats, we endeavour to be innovative – to practice what we preach!”
What is key for DBA, is to continue to grow their networks, subscribers and members. Zoom, video, website and communications to everybody are critical but central to activity will always be personal relationships.
Debbie is delighted to offer event management, marketing and strategic growth support to this client and looks forward to a future full of innovation.