Through the backing of our parent company Informa, the New Hope Network established a $5 million fund to support the most vulnerable companies significantly affected by the Natural Products Expo West 2020 cancellation. An independent advisory council was formed to help us establish the criteria for how we best manage and disperse this fund.
Based on the advisory council’s guidance, the majority of this fund will be directed toward smaller companies and emerging brands, which we’ve primarily defined as being first- or second-year Natural Products Expo exhibitors in 2020 with annual net revenues of less than $2 million in 2019.
In dispersing the fund, New Hope will lean into supporting the underlying values of the natural and organic products industry by also taking into consideration whether an Expo West 2020 exhibiting company:
- Sells products that are certified organic, Non-GMO Verified and/or carry other values-based certifications that support organic, transparency, sustainability, Fair Trade and regenerative agriculture (such as Regenerative Organic Certification, Fair Trade certification, Demeter Biodynamic certification, etc.).
- Is a certified B Corporation.
An Expo West 2020 exhibiting company does not have to carry these types of certifications to be considered, but we will take them into account when dispersing funds.
We will also take into account the non-New Hope costs an exhibiting company incurred as a result of the Expo West cancellation, including GES, freight and other expenses that have not been refunded or credited. Domestic travel costs will not be included.
To allow us to collect the necessary information to disperse these funds, an email was sent to the main contacts of all Expo West 2020 exhibiting companies on April 14 with a link to an application. If you were an Expo West 2020 exhibiting company and do not believe your company received the email with the application link, please check with the individual your brand designated as the main contact for Expo West, email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with your New Hope account manager.
Exhibiting companies interested in receiving money from the fund should submit their application by 5 p.m. MT on Friday, April 24.
New Hope will make all final decisions regarding funding allotment and will base our decisions on the guidance that has been provided by the independent advisory council. The New Hope sales team will notify companies of their funding allotment by Monday, May 18.
We know that many of the more than 3,700 companies that were slated to exhibit at Expo West 2020 have endured hardship, loss and disappointment in relation to the cancellation of this annual natural and organic industry event. All registration badges and education and training passes have been refunded and every exhibitor and sponsor is receiving a full credit toward Expo East 2020, Expo West 2021 or other New Hope programming.
And yet, we recognize that registration, exhibitor and sponsorship fees paid to New Hope are but one piece of the financial investment companies make to participate in Natural Products Expo.
The $5 million fund is intended to help offset these non-New Hope expenses for what will inevitably be a relatively small portion of the Expo West 2020 exhibiting community. This reality is likely to cause further frustration for some of our Expo exhibitors, and we apologize in advance for our need to prioritize helping some companies more than others.
This is not a reflection of our appreciation and gratitude for each of our Expo community members; it’s a reflection of our own financial limitations right now. By making the decision to suspend Expo West, we have incurred significant costs and liabilities that are not covered by our insurance and are therefore irretrievable.
In addition to this $5 million fund, we are exploring other ways to lean in to support the Expo community, as are many of our vendors, partners and Anaheim hotel properties. We all do this at a time when our businesses too have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and, like you, we also are focused on taking care of our colleagues and their families.
We thank the natural and organic community for the patience, grace and support you’ve shown us since the Expo West cancellation, and we wish you all the best as we collectively navigate our way through this global health and economic crisis. Our industry is proving that we are stronger together and will get through this together.