G&M exclusively interviewed Sophie Crouzet, COO at SiGMA Group. This prominent executive discusses the opportunities to create new virtual conferences, the value of teamwork, the benefits of using and promoting cryptocurrencies in the sector, and the special characteristics of upcoming events such as SiGMA LATAM, SiGMA Malta, AIBC Summit and SiGMA Deep Tech.
Recently, you have been named Chief Operating Officer at SiGMA. What does this promotion mean to you after more than 4 years in the company? Could you briefly comment on your daily job, in which you must take care of different tasks?
I’ve been with the company since its inception, having joined as an intern. SiGMA (https://www.sigma.com.mt/en/home/) is a place that credits individuals and gives recognition for the hard work done. In fact I’ve seen several individuals grow on a personal level, including myself. Having witnessed SiGMA’s growth throughout the last six years has given me a unique perspective and a skillset that I hope will see me in good stead. Although I was appointed during challenging times, I am confident in the way forward. On a daily basis, I am in charge of conference preparation, dealing with suppliers, teambuilding and, last but not least, giving a helping hand in all our departments to make sure our coming events maintain the high quality we’ve become known for.
How was the process to transform some face-to-face events to virtual ones due to COVID-19 pandemic? How important is the partnership with Clarion for SiGMA-ICE Asia and what was the feedback after this first digital experience?
Digital events have brought their own unique brand of value to the table, although they are no substitute for the thrill of a packed expo floor or for the relaxed atmosphere of our networking dinners. The health crisis motivated us to bridge the gap between businesses, facilitating a much-needed post pandemic conversation by bringing the industry together virtually during these critical moments. Through the interactive experience, we had the opportunity to reach a wider audience and make our event accessible to more people globally. It has been vital for companies to strengthen their connections, to keep informed and to discuss the way forward together. The virtual platform will be integrated into our live shows, enabling a more holistic experience. SiGMA’s digital summit was a roaring success, with a great speaker line-up and the feedback we got back was excellent. We had over 4,000 delegate registrations, over 7,000 private messages exchanged between attendees, and over 2,000 virtual cards exchanged. We’re also thrilled to be partnering with ICE Asia for our upcoming face-to-face event in Asia. The event highlights the vast potential for business in Asia’s thriving gaming industry. Alongside smart and sustainable regulation of the gaming industry, investment in emerging tech, and an attractive business-first climate, Manila (Philippines) is ideally placed to host this inaugural super show.
Why has the company decided to expand to Latin America and Africa? How would you describe the huge growth of a company that was first focused on Malta and now has a brand with strong resonance on four continents?
With a strong workforce in Malta, Kiev and Manila, we believed that the time was right for SiGMA to expand beyond its comfort zone. That’s why SiGMA announced the launch of SiGMA LATAM. I believe there is huge market potential in Latin America’s fast-emerging gambling landscape and a hearty appetite for regulation. When it comes to Africa, this continent has been attracting stakeholder’s interest globally for quite some time now. As a continent, it offers novel opportunities in both the gaming and emerging tech sectors. SiGMA, as a leading event and media company within the gaming industry, saw potential for development and grasped this opportunity to expand its portfolio of events further. Teamwork divides tasks and multiplies success and if I had to describe the huge growth of this company with one word, it would be ‘teamwork.’ The team here at SiGMA has one aim in mind: to bring audiences together to pave the way for the gaming communities worldwide to learn from and do business with each other.
SiGMA is one of the main show organizers that started dedicating a specific event to Blockchain, the AIBC Summit. How valuable are cryptocurrencies to you and in which way their use could be extended and promoted within the gaming industry?
This year, our November show will be unique in that we’ll be hosting both SiGMA and AIBC in tandem for one super show. We realized that there was significant untapped potential for crossover between the gaming and tech markets. We hope that combining these two verticals will bring fresh new opportunities to investors looking to diversify their portfolios. Cryptocurrencies are critical assets nowadays as they are overhauling various industries, the gaming industry being one of the first to embrace it. In my opinion, cryptocurrencies are extremely beneficial as they enable convenient payments helping various sectors significantly slash their operational costs. Digital currencies could be extended and promoted within the gaming industry, especially online, as they improve security, anonymity, and trust. This will also be the first year SiGMA embraces deep tech into its gaming remit. SiGMA Deep Tech will be one of the first major gaming events to incorporate pure tech, created by techies for techies, both into its expo and conference agenda.
What expectations do you have for the upcoming events SiGMA LATAM (virtual) in September and SiGMA Malta (face-to-face) in November? What new and attractive activities will the attending executives find in these fairs?
With these summits, we are expecting to connect top speakers from diverse sectors and attract investors and industry players from around the globe. On the other hand, we also aim to engage an expert-led, interactive audience. There are plenty of exciting and important conversations to be had right now, and SiGMA offers the perfect platform to do so. Delegates attending the show are in for a buzzing expo floor packed full of carefully chosen exhibitors: from suppliers to operators and from affiliates to thought leaders and policy makers. There truly is something for everyone. Besides, we offer crucial opportunities for startups looking to make their mark in this sector. Our popular Startup Village is always packed. In fact, this year we will host both AIBC and SiGMA focused startups. We also hold a popular Startup Pitch, where ten of the top startups battle it out on stage for a smashing prize pack, including promotional activities, networking opportunities, funding and investment advice. SiGMA will be taking all sensible and necessary precautions during the Malta-held summit. Wider corridors have been redesigned on the floor plan, as well as social distancing measures have been taken into consideration with our conference seating plan. There will be increased cleaning rotations and access points to hand sanitizer. On-stage mics, chairs and podiums will be cleaned in between each panel. A number of medical safety points will also be made available, offering free health care advice and first aid.