The ongoing lockdown due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic has dealt all sectors across Nigeria and indeed the whole world a big blow. Many businesses have been crippled and many individuals have been rendered useless. The negative impacts of the deadly Coronavirus crisis on many lives are immeasurable neither can it be overemphasized.
One of the sectors this global pandemic has affected in Nigeria however is the Events sector. This is an industrial which has been adjudged a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria annually. It contributes conservatively over N100billion to the Country’s GDP and potentially has about N1trillion in turnover. That is huge!
But with the present situation at hand, everything has come to a standstill as far as the sector is concerned, just like the other sectors too. The Coronavirus lockdown has forced many who have fixed dates for their event or planning to have to cancel such plans. In fact, several millions have been lost to the pandemic. As many may have commited huge amount of money into planning and logistics of the upcoming events before the Coronavirus breakout.
City People’s Correspondent, Dare Adeniran speaks with four of the top players in Ibadan’s Events Planning sector. Below is what they have to say about the negetive effects of the Coronavirus on their businesses and lessons the latest development has taught them as well as their plans to survive this period.
“I PLAN TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MY CLIENTS ONLINE”- SAPHYR EVENTS BOSS, OLAMIDE
Tell us about yourself and what you do?
I am Olamide Phillips Ojo, a Lead Consultant at Saphyr Events. At Saphyr Events, our services include but not limited to Events Planning and Management, Events Marketing, Vendors Sourcing and Management, Hospitality and Ushering Services, Project management, Party Planning Services, Cooperate, Private, Public and Social Services.
As an events planner, how has this Coronavirus affected your business?
Well, the pandemics has taken a toll on the business, events have been cancelled, others postponed till further notice and hoping that when the further notice comes, the client will still be intrested in our services. So with the pandemics where we have no more social gatherings which automatically means no mote event(s) of any kind and that means no money for us.
So how are you coping in all these and what is your plans to stay afloat of business pending the time that crisis will be over?
Well, as an individual survival is key, so we sort other means of survival. But our plans include constantly keeping in touch with our clients to keep the brand naming relevant. We make sure our on-line presence remains active to ensure our clients that we still much in the business, and then we organising on-line tranings and classes to keep the brand alive during this period.
As top player in the sector, can you quantify how much is been lost to the Coronavirus pandemic?
The Event industry is a multi-billion naira one, so we cannot quantify how much in millions has been lost. The loss is just too much because the sector also provide job opportunities for several others, which means lots of jobs has been lost. Don’t also forget the fact that its generates internal revenue for the state which in turn as a result of the pandemic affected the IGR of the state.
“CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAS OPENED MY EYES TO OTHER OPPORTUNITIES”- RIPPLES EVENTS BOSS, EUNICE ADEOYE
What is Ripples all about?
Ripples is an Events Planning and Catering Services company that helps with all event needs. From event planning through to complete execution, our team will deliver a unique event tailored just for you. Ripples whole idea is to inject new life into the event planning market.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business?
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis affecting people, families, communities and businesses. Event Industry, which is all about social gathering, is of no exception. The is major decrease in demand for products and services as a result of the lockdown occasioned by the rampaging Coronavirus. Many already booked events have been cancelled, necessitating refund and there is also increase in the cost of raw materials and food stuffs. Social events, meetings have been cancelled. Also, there is low patronage at restaurants and leisure businesses. In fact, the impact on the business is of no measures.
How are you coping in all these?
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are difficult to model and asses. The stay at home, stay safe order has given me a whole lot of opportunities to review my life maritally, spiritually and emotionally. It has added so much value bonding with my family and to reassess my operations, products and services. I have always believed in multiple streams of income.
I have always been a caterer and this has helped to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. With school closures, job disruptions and health risk, millions of Nigerians will turn to food industry for much-needed support. The most vulnerable people in every community need our network now more than ever, and I am well positioned to meet the need. This includes safety continuing supplies of food through home delivery services.
What is your plan to stay onboard pending the time that the crisis will be over?
My mitigation strategy is to focus on those things that I have control over and see the brighter side of this primordial part of the pandemic to better the business. Surviving this period is much more of strongwill rather than complaints. Exploring the home delivery options and online presence is key.
I am equally prepared for the business rush when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. I have been working on my capacity to be able to withstand the mad rush of events which we normally experience during festive period.
“I HAVE LOST MILLIONS OF NAIRA TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN”- APPLAUSE EVENTS ARCHITECT BOSS, OLAMIDE
As an event planner, how has the Coronavirus pandemic affected your business?
The coronavirus is a growing global public health threat that is having negative effects on all industries including Events Industry.
The coronavirus has, in all ramifications, already affected numerous events throughout the world. Events in Nigeria have been greatly affected, and many clients are choosing to err on the side of caution by either postponing or outright cancelling their events in the wake of the outbreak.
Every event has been cancelled for April and had some cancellations in March. That means there is no income at all for these months. My events company is going to be out of work and not generating any income for I don’t know how long.
Can you quatify how much you have lost to the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown?
I expected my event planning company to organise more than 50 events this year, basking in the euphoria of previous parties planned last year and earlier this year.
As more cases of coronavirus are confirmed globally however, Applause Events Architect feels the crimp caused by the outbreak as our clients are “ pulling the plug” on contracts.
They are not giving us solid postponement dates. My prediction is that my business will make 50% less of what it expected to do, if not less.
What are your plans to stay afloat of your business pending the time the crisis will be over?
The plan to keep the business afloat is by using the current downtime to find new leads and customers ahead of time. As a team, we intend to build a new network of prospective customers. Putting time and effort into generating new leads now will ensure that the company has a pool of potential customers to rely on once things have calmed down.
“THIS IS DIFFICULT TIME FOR EVENTS INDUSTRY”- DEXTERITY PLUS BOSS, FAVOURESSANG
What do you do at Dexterity Plus?
Dexterity Plus is an Event Management Company. We are an upscale decoration company. We also deal in rentals of all kinds and decoration items. We consult and also train on professional event decoration.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business?
I am a decorator and I must say this pandemic has really affected my business. I have been booked by several clients since last year on serveral dates. I also have over 125 staff working with me not as contract staff but those that need to be paid salaries. I have people depending on weekly and daily wages. Also, my decoration props/equipment are mostly imported, as I speak I’m yet to receive them due to closed borders. I know for a fact that when all these is over, things can never be the same and dates will definitely clash. It’s indeed a major setback for the business.
What are your immediate plans to keep you in business untill everything becomes normal?
This period is indeed a difficult one due to the nature of the business. We will just take this time to explore and do more research regarding event planning and also explore new ideas on diversifying on related business. My prayer is for God to have mercy on us and vindicate us all. It’s a crucial trying time for all businesses. Especially the events business.
Can you quatify how much has been lost to the Coronavirus pandemic as per those who have had to cancel their events and all that?
I can say for free that it’s in Billions of Naira. I am really concern about my colleagues in the industry that have serious traffic as far as this business is concern.