Most conferences are focused on advanced Western European countries, whose policies are not always relevant and applicable in the CEE context.
Some conferences tend to be too academic and produce only general conclusions. We wanted something very practical, which policy professional could really use in their daily work.
Most of all, we wanted to help build a vibrant Central and Eastern Europe’s energy efficiency community which continues working together beyond the event itself. So we pay lot of attention to informal networking.
So did it work? We think it did. Twice already, in fact, and our participants are telling us that 84% of them will probably come back next time again!
The first edition of C4E Forum 2016 took place in Balchik at the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria in an informal setting and attracted a mix of 180 participants from governments, the public sector, NGOs, civil society and business. The second edition took place in June 2018 in Serock, Poland and brought together 210 participants (17% up). Read on to find out more about it.
Things that make the C4E Forum stand out
We have our idea about what makes C4E Forum special, but instead we asked our participants what makes it stand out for them and they told us following 4 things (67-70% of them agreed with the following statements):
“The mix of different stakeholders and diverse perspectives is very rich”
Too often public, private and civic sectors keep to themselves and don’t talk to each other enough. We are trying to include everybody in the discussion: governments, businesses, NGOs, think-tanks, you name it.
“It has unique focus on the CEE region”
Most events like this tend to be West-centric. C4E Forum 2018 had more than 75% of participants from the CEE region and heavy CEE focus as a result.
“It gives me great informal environment to build my network”
We know that it’s not just about work and we put great effort in selecting and appropriate venue for that. In 2018 we had a live band at the closing party (again), karaoke competition and great DIY sessions including river kayaking and biking.
“It is interactive, not just full of frontal presentations”
One of the signature features of C4E Forum is heavy emphasis on smaller parallel sessions and break-out group work, because people tell us that works best for their networking. As a result, C4E Forum participants made on average 9 new contacts.
As organizers, we also pay special attention to the following principles
Time efficiency: We condense everything into half a week – just enough to immerse, but not taking the whole week of fyour busy agenda
Gender balance: It’s 21st century. Both genders move the energy efficiency agenda forward and C4E Forum tries to reflect that. In 2018 we set a record almost perfect balance of 49.5% women and 50.5% men.
Affordability: C4E Forum is a non-profit event. We make great effort to keep the all-inclusive fee as low as possible, offer a reduced fee for public sector and NGOs and we try to provide at least some fee waivers to government officials who have difficulty getting funding.