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MIENEX gains new boss

TO BE successful in the conference and expo facilitation industry business, one needs to keep things very close to your chest.

This is the advice Exhibit managing director Peter Versluis has for any budding entrepreneurs.

“The thing about running an exhibition is that all it takes is an idea. My idea can become your idea very quickly,” Mr Versluis said.

“Once you start you’ve got to move fast. You need to get the venue locked away, the exhibitors locked away and the promotional material and marketing locked away,” he said.

“Only once that is done can you make a noise about what you are doing, because you already have a three month head start on any other potential competitors.

“Being secret gives the company an edge over any competitors which can be translated into a lot of money.”

When Mr Versluis bought the exhibition assets from Consolidated Business Media it was not the tangible assets he paid for but the intangible assets such as databases, intellectual property and Internet technology.

With exhibitions such as MIENEX, which has a four year history of success, on its books the company has access to a ready-made market.

MIENEX is the biggest annual mining show in the southern hemisphere, drawing almost 700 exhibitors from around Australia and the world.

It is a show combining the latest offerings in mining and exploration technology.

Mr Versluis said while WA had a large mining focus, some 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the exhibitors were still based on the east coast with a local presence through an agent.

In opening the exhibition WA Premier Richard Court said the show was particularly relevant to WA because it was the foundation of the economy and its way of life.

Mr Court said the industry averaged an annual growth rate of 4 per cent and was valued at $17 billion in 1999.

Mr Versluis said the downturn in the resource sector was also evident when compared with previous years, Mr Versluis said.

“Companies are not as flush with money – they are less flamboyant then they were in the past,” he said.

Even a simple thing such as manning the stands has been more difficult this year because many companies have reduced staff.

While the number of exhibitors has not gone down this year, the money spent on the stands by the exhibitors has been down.

The real test as to how successful business has been for the exhibitors will be revealed to Exhibit when it comes to re-signing them at the end of the current MIENEX.

Mr Versluis’ focus is already on next year’s MIENEX which he hopes will be bigger than ever.

“Our initial focus is to enhance the event by way of conferences. Conferences are a big part of what we want to do,” Mr Versluis said.

Exhibit also hopes to increase the number of exhibitions it holds to one per month from the current eight each year.

However, on the question of what area these new exhibitions might be in...well, Mr Versluis prefers to keep those ideas to himself.

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