Eugene Orimbo an events planner with a different touch
Eugene Orimbo is an events planner with a different touch. With many sectors going digital, especially due to the Covid-19 crisis, his start-up, Evenstur is changing the art of event organising. He talks with Manuel Ntoyai.
Give us a brief history about yourself.
I was born and raised in Diani, Kwale county. I joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in 2014 to study Information Technology (IT).
While in my second year in 2016, I got employed at an events company as a developer and later grew to become the IT manager.
The position entailed coming up with systems to manage sales and packaging of marketing activations.
How did you end up in the events industry?
I did that for three years, but in 2017 I co-founded another product, an e-commerce platform that was not as successful as I had envisioned it.
Last year is when I quit my job to concentrate on running Evenstur, a new company I had co-founded, whose concept was born out of a number of problems I saw troubling the events industry.
Among the main issue was the disconnect between the event organisers and audiences.
There are so many events happening, but reaching out to the right audience has always been an issue, and that’s the business opportunity I saw.
What are some of lessons learnt running your company?
An event is an event, whether it is a graduation ceremony attended by family members and friends, or a big concert with an international portfolio, but planning an event successfully is not a simple task.
Events service providers are in the market looking for opportunities to work. We connect them with potential clients.
Via the Evenstur app, we vet them thoroughly with the appropriate ‘Know Your Client’, providing as much information as possible to both parties.
The essence of this is because when you go online, the most of the current businesses do not give any valuable information, and again we have had the unfortunate occurrence of clients being short-changed because they could not vet the service provider.
How has the experience been with the Covid-19 crisis?
We began officially in March 2020 just when the pandemic found its way to Kenya.
The events industry was the first to be affected and virtually everything online, and we had to restrategise, and that’s when we came up with the Evenstur app, which runs on android.
The content is curated based on people’s preference and location. Good thing about online events is that there are not physical boundaries, so one can even attend an event in London or Paris at the comfort of their home. So, it has been an interesting learning and experimenting period.
As normalcy returns, what should event goers expect?
I think by the end of the pandemic, the industry would have lost billions of money in revenue.
But at the same time the cost of setting up an event is going to go down due to the emergence of virtual events, which will essentially eliminate the costs for hiring catering services, venue and other things.
Pay-per-view concerts are also becoming popular. What are your thoughts on this?
This phenomenon is catching up so fast because Covid-19 has taught us there are alternative ways of doing things.
The challenges of live streaming have been met by geofencing, where live concerts are limited to one geographical area.
We are also witnessing artistes make more money through their performances by advertising some of their other products including cosmetics and other merchandise during the live streams.
What is Eventstur doing differently to tilt the market?
We are centralizing events in the region so that you don’t need to be a professional events planner to have a successful occasion.
If you have the app on your mobile device, you can access people who are near you.
I mean, with our growing list of registered service providers, we are removing the hustle of having to spend so much resources on planning.
Once you have the app, you are only a few clicks from making the event happen.