The art of the conference

To tell you the truth, they're going on all over the place. One such event happened last weekend in Manchester. The entrepreneurs of the future met to be informed and entertained by an array of speakers at this year's National Student Enterprise Conference.

It's set up by the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) and it brought in several entrepreneurs and CEOs including Rick Martell, founder of and John Griffin, founder of Addison Lee. But it wasn't just about them - on the second day, several students were able to pitch their ideas to a live audience.

"Students have never been so aware of the need to create, innovate and lead for success. This weekend brought students together to equip them with the skills and know-how to re-think, re-engineer and re-shape old models for a new economy," said Hushpreet Dhaliwal from NACUE after the event.

To get back to my point, the draw of the conference is starting to become apparent. I went to my first one last week. I'm new here at Smarta HQ but managed to get myself hired just in time to attend Smarta Live at the British Library & IP Centre. And it's not just us - tech bible recently published a story on the best tech conferences out there.

There are a number of reasons why attending conferences is a great way to help the aspiring entrepreneur: motivation, insight and the chance to put that business card to the test. But more than anything else, it's a question of perspective.

Meeting like-minded people at a conference such as the National Student Enterprise Conference or Smarta Live means that you can take a step outside your own project for a couple of hours, and network with real people who will most likely be able to help you out - or give you another angle to your own idea.

Maybe you have a problem over marketing that's been taking up your time, or you're struggling to find the right suppliers for your venture. Chances are that someone you meet at one of these events could have the answer (or the contact) you're looking for.

In today's social-media-society, organising and attending conferences couldn't be easier. Just to help you out, Smarta provides a handy network of all the upcoming conferences, seminars and events.

So all I'm saying is give it a try sometime. You will probably be surprised at just how much you come away with.

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