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Roshan Abbas, Managing Director, Encompass and Co-founder KommuneEncompass
It will also organize a virtual event D-Day to help stakeholders understand how to create shared experiences online

EEMA is creating a virtual marketplace to remove geographical barriers and help the industry work together: Roshan Abbas, President, EEMA

It will also organize a virtual event D-Day to help stakeholders understand how to create shared experiences online
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  • Roshan Abbas, the newly elected President of EEMA is a man with a plan. He has put together an agenda to help the live events industry survive the Covid-19 lockdown and its business impact.
  • EEMA is currently working on creating an EEMA Marketplace where people can offer their services online. This marketplace is aimed at removing geographical barriers and open up opportunities for players even in smaller cities.
  • EEMA will also continue its dialogue with the government, to come out with solutions that can help the industry survive.

The Event & Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) recently elected Roshan Abbas, Managing Director, Encompass and Co-founder Kommune as its new President. Considering how adversely the events industry has been impacted by the lockdown, Abbas already has his agenda in place and he has some ambitious plans to try and get the industry back on the track.

Since the start of the lockdown, EEMA has been having numerous conversations with the government on how it can support the industry. Abbas shares that they have already had discussions with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and in the near future, the industry body will continue having these conversations with the government to figure out the best way to move forward. Abbas shares that the plan is not simply to ask the government for support but work with the government.

“Rather than knocking on the government’s door and asking for its support, we want to tell the government to use our expertise. We want to offer our services. There has been so much talk about social distancing, safety and sanitation. So why can’t we showcase all the work that is being done in the country through an Expo? China recently had a Covid related expo. Considering there’s so much focus on ‘Vocal for Local’, we can showcase all the work that Indian players have been putting up during these last few months. The idea behind something like this is to change the narrative, not simply ask the government for its help, but also offer our services and in return,” shared Abbas.

The industry body is also currently working on a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in an attempt to figure out how to organize events with people safely. “For me as an association body, it is very important to lead the way and tell people that these are the right SOPs to do larger format event safely and we are working currently on putting that in place,” he said.

Abbas also wants to ensure that the industry is better represented to the world. While currently the organized experiential sector is pegged to be around Rs 7,000 crore in size, Abbas says that the actual size of the industry is substantially more.

“I've always felt that we have been extremely conservative in presenting the size of the event industry. Events today include so many things, starting from religious, sports and cultural festivals to political rallies, corporate and rural events, properties like IPL and ISL, activations and even social events. When you look at all of this collectively, the industry is actually much larger. We have been trying to collate data and I believe our industry is around Rs 500,000 crore. We must look at ourselves as an industry. We employ over 10 million people directly and indirectly. When you take these numbers and go to the world at large and tell them that this is the state of the organized and unorganized sector across the country, I'm pretty certain people will sit up and take notice about the sheer economic and human capital. Moreover, events brings a happiness quotient, a soft power which nobody talks about. I think it's very important to a communicate this. We're going to work on a big campaign to get this message across to everybody about the fact that we’re that invisible force that makes such a big difference,” added Abbas.

Creating a virtual marketplace

EEMA will also be looking at creating a virtual marketplace in an attempt to bring the industry closer together. The idea behind the marketplace is to enable anybody and everybody to put up their services online. “Digital has led to the collapse of barriers created by time, space and geographies. The idea behind the marketplace is to provide a platform for our stakeholders to showcase their services, so that people sitting in even smaller cities can work for people in other cities. We are working on this virtual marketplace of services because in these times, the only route to prosperity is working together,” explained Abbas.

EEMA’s advisory on conducting virtual events

Considering that physical events have almost come to a standstill, a lot of events are moving to the digital space. However, most stakeholders are still confused about this transition and EEMA is working on putting together an advisory that will help answer these questions.

“When you start a new line of business, like virtual events, you need to know what is the standardized pricing for it, what are the elements that you need to price for etc. We are trying to put together an advisory of sorts from EEMA, not just for our members but even for people outside. The advisory will tell people how virtual events should be looked at and organized.

EEMA’s Digital Day (D-Day)

There is a difference between a digital experience and a live digital experience. EEMA is also working on putting together an event calling it D-Day for the end of August that will celebrate the work that the industry has been doing.

“D-Day is a digital way to actually bring brands, people from the large digital ecosystem together to show that there's a difference between a digital experience and a live digital experience. If tomorrow, a concert has to be done online, how do you create the shared experience? If you want to recreate the beautiful scenarios you would create in ballrooms and hotels and live locations, how would you create some part of it online? How do you create interactivity? We're hoping to put together a big Digital day towards the end of August, almost as a reach out to the industry at large saying if you have to do it, do it right and do it this way,” shared Abbas.

Focus on showcasing young talent and women in the business

The event industry also employs a lot of young professionals as well as women. EEMA will also work on creating conferences or cells that can work for both the younger population and well as women.

“The younger population in the event industry is coming up with path-breaking ideas. They're questioning everything, they’re questioning how you hire manpower, what are incentives, they’re questioning technology and even formats. It's very important to celebrate the youth and also celebrate the women in our industry because almost 30-40% of all the people in our industry are women. Its an industry where there’s a large percentage of women and I feel if they are given the right platform, everything else can be done by them. I don't want this to sound like tokenism. I really want to make sure that there is a woman's conference or a cell that works together for just doing things for the youth separately and for women separately,” added Abbas.

COVID-19IndiaCases: 2.26MDeaths: 45.2kRecovered: 1.58M
COVID-19WorldCases: 19.71MDeaths: 728kRecovered: 12.22M
COVID-19USACases: 4.95MDeaths: 160kRecovered: 1.67M