In June 2021, the three parties responsible for the RENT conference, namely ECSB, EIASM and entrepreneurship researchers from Turku, decided to conduct a survey to determine the probability of entrepreneurship researchers travelling to Finland if the conference was held onsite in Turku. The survey not only asked about researchers’ willingness or eagerness to participate but also whether their employers would permit them to travel. The results were promising, and most intended to travel.
Another survey was conducted in August 2021, and as the results were still encouraging, the decision to hold the conference in Turku was made at a joint meeting of organisations and chairpersons at the end of August. After the summer, the infection rates in Finland were encouragingly low, and it was also estimated that the vaccination of the population would progress effectively. The reservations of the conference and dinner venues were confirmed, and negotiations were launched regarding the organisation of the welcome reception offered by the City of Turku.
“EIASM, the organisation that owns the conference, also strongly supported the onsite implementation, as experiences of hybrid conferences had shown that people would resort to online participation at the last minute. Of course, an event held onsite is more profitable business,” states Professor Ulla Hytti.
“Personally, I felt that organizing a hybrid conference would have caused double the amount of work for us. A hybrid event would also have caused additional costs to the organisers. From the start, I thought that it was an either-or situation – the event should be organized either on location or fully online. Once the decision had been made, we simply had to take care of the arrangements and keep our cool,” Ulla Hytti says calmly.
RENT 2021 was held at Radisson Blu Marina Palace Hotel in Turku from 18 to 19 November 2021 with the pre-conference day held at the Turku School of Economics. Turku welcomed 240 delegates, of whom 200 came from abroad. The nationality with the most representatives was Germans.