The group behind a failed bid to hold the 2023 World’s Fair in Bloomington has joined with the Medical Alley Association for a new venture.
Building on the Twin Cities metro’s heft in the health care industry, Medical Alley and 2023 Partners are organizing a major global health conference for this fall in Minneapolis.
“Over the next 10 years we expect massive shifts in health,” said Shaye Mandle, president and CEO of the Medical Alley Association. “There have to be new business models.”
The Medical Alley Innovation conference (MANOVA) is expected to draw about 2,000 thought leaders in global health initiatives, including executives, researchers, consultants and authors. The inaugural four-day conference will be Oct. 8-11 at venues including the Walker Art Center.
Organizers hope the event blossoms into an annual global affair similar in impact to major consumer technology, interactive film and music and business and economic conferences such as CES, South by Southwest and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Initial keynote speakers for the event include Arianna Huffington, who wrote a book about sleep research, and National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner, who gave a Ted Talk on living past 100. Aneesh Chopra and Sam Kass, administration officials under former President Barack Obama, also will be speaking, as well as Andy Slavitt, the former Medicare chief and UnitedHealth Group executive who recently launched a new health-focused venture-capital firm.
More venues, speakers and conference events are expected to be added this summer.
The last day of the event will be an extension of a Digital Health conference that Medical Alley has played host to for the last few years in conjunction with MedCity News.
Mark Addicks, chief executive of 2023 Partners, worked on the bidding for the three-month-long World’s Fair that would have been held in Bloomington in 2023. The theme would have been “Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Wellness and Well Being for All.”
When the winning bid went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November, Addicks and the World’s Fair bid committee pivoted quickly. They felt the health-and-wellness theme still needed an outlet. By January, they initiated conversations and by March felt they could capitalize on their momentum to launch a new global conference for the fall.
“It’s aggressive and it’s ambitious, but you kind of live what you preach,” Addicks said. “There does seem to be a community groundswell on this idea and issue on how do we step into our global leadership in health more so than we have been.”
The region, Mandle said, is a natural fit for a global conference because of the presence of major medical companies and health-related startups.
“This presents for those companies a unique opportunity to play their global leadership game at home, which is something they don’t always have,” he said.
Addicks expects more than local med-tech companies to participate. He sees local food and wellness companies participating and drawing other national companies, including Walmart, the founding sponsor of the event. “They see themselves as sitting in the middle of this health conversation as well,” Addicks said.