Coronavirus-hit conferences offered free help by Edinburgh business

Virtual conference platform HeySummit is offering free support to in-person events affected by the outbreak of coronavirus.

The Edinburgh business will provide free support for conference impacted by coronavirus. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
The Edinburgh business will provide free support for conference impacted by coronavirus. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

The Edinburgh business has announced it will provide complimentary support for impact-driven conferences at risk of being cancelled because of the virus, with the aim of helping organisers to quickly transition a physical conference into a virtual one.

The coronavirus scare that emerged during the UK Bus Summit last month has resulted in conference and summit organisers worrying about turnout and attendee safety, while the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month has been cancelled.

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HeySummit has volunteered guidance for those affected, assisting with free platform access and the development of a transitional plan.

Physical conferences and summits can cost tens of thousands of pounds to organise and run, and many heavily rely on sponsorship and ticket sales to break even.

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HeySummit chief executive Robert Gelb said: "We’ve been getting queries from event organisers all around the world who are worried that they’ll have to cancel their physical conference because of concerns about coronavirus.

“It’s a terrible situation where something that’s taken months or years of preparation can suddenly be at risk. We want to do our part to help.

“It’s not fair that so much stands to be lost as a result of the coronavirus. Not just the resources spent in planning and organisation, but in the value that an event brings to attendees.”