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May 4, 2009

Grass Roots on course for major growth

Grass Roots on course for major growth

Event management company bucks the trend with aggressive plans for expansion


Grass Roots Middle East has launched a new Events and Communications division with aggressive plans for expansion around the region. Part of UK-based Grass Roots Group, which specialises in communication, measurement, rewards and events, Grass Roots Middle East plans to bring its expertise in event management to every country in the GCC, starting with Dubai.


“Dubai is just the first stop,” said Mark Rose, client services director of Grass Roots Middle East. “Dubai will be a template for the rest of the region. We will use Dubai as a training ground to build the events division, to build the delegate management systems, to build the creative side, to build up the rewards and recognitions, to build up the training, and then re-create that around the region,” he said.


In the next few months Grass Roots will open an office in Abu Dhabi and further down the line has plans for offices in Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. At a time when many firms in the events industry are struggling with a loss of business and lay-offs, Rose said business is booming for Grass Roots. Due to its stable financial position (last year the group reported an annual turnover of US$415 million), the firm is able to pitch for many large-scale events that smaller, local firms are not able to cater to.  


“One of the main reasons Grass Roots has invested so heavily in this region is that we can back it up,” Rose told meetme. “There are so many event management companies in the region that are small and that can’t handle the types of events we are handling. People have cash flow issues here. At the moment there are a lot of businesses that are going under, which is sad from an industry perspective as a lot of colleagues are struggling, but on the positive side it means people are looking to Grass Roots because we have financial credibility.”


Rose added that on a regional level Abu Dhabi was the most buoyant market from an events perspective. “If there’s anybody who has actually got the money its Abu Dhabi – that’s what’s driving us to open an office there. They don’t seem to have really curtailed the types of events they want so we are doing big gala events, big outdoor events, product launches, and communication programmes. A lot of focus now is on the internal strategies of business. That’s why the reward and recognition side of the business is absolutely booming.”

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