For many companies and organisations, planning events can be a challenge and often a headache. But for event planner Alison Barnard and her company African Kaleidoscope Events, she embraces that challenge with enthusiasm, a great eye for detail, and an established track record of high quality event delivery. She is on a mission to bring events to life for her growing list of clients.
LoA chatted to founder Alison Barnard to find out more about her inspiration and her entrepreneurial journey to date.
What does your company do?
At African Kaleidoscope Events, we are specialists in event management, with a focus on all aspects of event planning which by extension provides a wide range of event management and value added services. We approach all events with passion, creativity and flair in bringing the client's vision to life. Seeing happy people at our events is what we're all about. Not only do we create events - we also create peace of mind. The types of events that we do are conferences, gala events, award ceremonies, year-end functions, family days, launches, ribbon cutting and sod turning ceremonies, etc. We have been providing event management and services for the past 13 years to Government, Corporate and Private Individuals. We source services from reputable companies for catering, décor, event infrastructure, entertainment, sound, lighting, staging, marquees, MCs, speakers, etc. We coordinate events in all shapes and sizes - no event is too big - or too small!
"We approach all events with passion, creativity and flair in bringing the client's vision to life."
What inspired you to start your company?
I felt it was time as I really worked hard at my previous companies and felt at that time I could do it for myself - to build a better life for me and my son. I was divorced and being a single mother it was really tough and felt I needed to do something about it.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I like to refer to myself as an event enabler who understands the nuts and bolts of event production. Clients should use my services as I build long-lasting relationships with them - its not just about that one event. I can source any services and have worked in most remote areas. We have a good reputation in the industry, and as I mentioned earlier we not only create events - we also create peace of mind.
"We have been providing event management and services for the past 13 years to Government, Corporate and Private Individuals."
Tell us a little about your team
I work with various suppliers and individuals who I call in to work with us, based on the project at hand.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My journey has been a good one. It was very hard at the beginning and the first 3 years was quite a challenge. I was about to throw in the towel when I decided to go for a tender and actually won it - and that set me on the path for much success over the years to come. I don't really come from an entrepreneurial background but always had this restlessness that I needed to do something for myself and then took the big step.
"I like to refer to myself as an event enabler who understands the nuts and bolts of event production."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
To continue growing the business and for it to be a success. The industry has become very over saturated and in the past 2-3 years business has slowed down from what it used to be. So the challenge is always to get more work and most importantly new clients. To create new opportunities and to have a training component, and I am partnering with a company to promote training in event risk management to facility managers and event organisers, so I'm hopeful that this will take off and grow.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Having flexibility in working hours; being my own boss and not having to answer to anyone. Most importantly to run a business and know that your services and efforts are appreciated.
"I don't really come from an entrepreneurial background but always had this restlessness that I needed to do something for myself and then took the big step."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
If their gut is telling them to startup in business, they should listen to it and go for it - take baby steps and to grow slowly so that they can feel the success, and build up the finances and confidence in themselves and in their customers.
Find yourself a mentor who is preferably in the same industry so that you can get good advice to assist you in making informed decisions. Make sure that you are "legal" by having the correct paperwork to give the business credibility.
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Why LoA loves it….
Building a successful business in a highly competitive industry sector such as corporate eventing can be tough, yet Alison Barnard is one entrepreneur that is proving it can be done with enough hard work, determination, and a high quality approach to delivery. She is also a great example of the art of the pivot, constantly looking for new opportunities and directions for her business to explore in order to take advantage of a changing and increasingly competitive environment. As such, she looks poised to continue to be a leading player in the field. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa