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 Ten steps for a successful I4W marketplace

Carefully choose established, recognized, and action-oriented partners who can engage local stakeholders. Introduce the I4+ Open Source methodology early on to gauge alignment with main objectives. Once agreed, draft and sign a "Framework Agreement" to formalize collaboration. Discuss total marketplace costs internally and with partners, then finalize with a signed "Contract Agreement" covering all aspects agreed upon, including date, location, responsibilities, budget, income, expenses, communication, and branding.

Choose a Co-organizer aligned with your organization's needs. After setting objectives, sign a "Framework Agreement" for collaboration. Evaluate Co-organizers based on expertise, fundraising, business orientation, track record, and event management. Assess market potential collaboratively, selecting companies, funders, bridge builders, and enablers. Choose Co-designers with expertise and local connections. Consider focus, timing, duration, and cultural context for marketplace dates. Avoid holidays and overlapping events. Choose the venue after signing the "Framework Agreement." Details are in the "Venue" section. Involve Patrons for support, especially with Public Institutions. Find a detailed concept note in the resources for a comprehensive understanding.

In the "project management" phase, collaborate with the Co-organizer to finalize the contract, budget, and program. Review the "Framework Agreement" for alignment and future cooperation. Clearly define roles, establish communication channels, and enhance marketplace quality. Specify operational responsibilities and emphasize communication and collaboration, especially among co-organizers. The co-organizer handles communications, venue selection, and catering. Develop a communication strategy for visibility. Designate a single contact point for efficient coordination. Ensure brand identity compatibility.

Select Patrons with Co-organizers to enhance marketplace support. Choose local institutions as potential Patrons, utilizing a diplomatic approach with a focus on positive impact. Leverage local organizers' connections to approach Public Institutions effectively. Highlight event benefits in outreach, utilizing provided letters and emails. Understand Patron motivation, ranging from moral support to active involvement. For Public Institutions, consider a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for clarity. Clearly communicate key marketplace elements through provided video and PowerPoint resources. Exchange brand identity guidelines for coherence in website and marketing materials.

The Co-designers are impacting the design of the program, they are experts in themes and well-connected with the local stakeholders. They should be involved in defining the themes, the time frame, and the expected outcomes of the marketplace. They usually take responsibility for moderating their thematic session, which usually lasts 45 to 60 minutes. Co-designers are selected together with the Co-organisers. Co-designers must be well-connected locally and must be well-known as experts in selected themes.

Ensure Solution Providers, experts in their fields, are well-informed on registration and pitch guidelines. Collaborate with Co-organizers to select network organizations for potential providers, preferably involving them as Co-designers. Prioritize those with recognized labels like the Solar Impulse Foundation (SIF) label. Identify local providers based on selection criteria. Streamline contact information collection with provided template. Invite selected providers to express interest in pitching, following strict rules. Co-organizers and Co-designers review and approve each pitch deck. Follow a structured coaching approach with a lead coach and at least 2 team witnesses for quality feedback and decision-making.

For registration management, agree on pricing, payment collection, and interface design. Use centralized software for participant registration and consent for information sharing. This feeds into a centralized participant database for future communication. If fees are required, decide on payment collection methods using available software examples in the resources. Monitor daily participant registrations to track progress and remind those who committed to participate verbally or by email.

Plan and design the program content with Partners, Co-organizers, and Co-designers. Effective communication and collaboration are vital for a successful marketplace. The organization begins with addressing local needs and solutions outlined in the signed "Framework Agreement" . Maintaining strong alignment between co-organizers and co-designers on local needs throughout the preparation is crucial. Professionalism depends on precise time management, requiring an efficient clocking system. For continuous improvement, participant feedback is essential and contributes to a comprehensive report . 

The communication strategy covers pre, during, and post-marketplace communication, emphasizing increased visibility. Create a mockup website featuring key agreement elements, continuously updating it during marketplace preparation. Utilize a concise, one-page summary for crucial information. Employ major social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter for efficient communication and visibility. Consider mobilizing other media channels such as radio and television. Use display banners (wall and roll-up) at the marketplace, with examples available in the resources section. Organize one-on-one interviews with selected participants for future communication about the marketplace.

There are many factors involved in organising a marketplace, and choosing the right venue is a decision that will have a huge impact on the marketplace success. Everything depends on the choice of the venue, from the date of the marketplace to the selection of speakers, catering, and the experience of the participants. The lesson we have learned from previous marketplaces is that for successful networking, it is best to gather all participants in one place. For this reason, we strongly recommend the "all in one place" strategy when selecting a marketplace. 

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