Elmarie Prinsloo - Alumni Bloemskou
Elmarie Prinsloo
CEO Bloem Show


Bloem Show – Constantly evolving

Bloem Show is constantly evolving in order to add new aspects to its entertainment, exhibitions, and the value proposition designed for the diverse visitors attending the show.” Elmarie Prinsloo, CEO of Bloem Show and the Showgrounds Development Trust, shared some of her insights on current business challenges.

About Elmarie Prinsloo

Elmarie, a proud KOVSIE, graduated from the UFS in 1994 with a BEcon degree. She started her career at Bloem Show, working her way up from a junior employee to CEO of Bloem Show and the Showground Development Trust. This career path schooled her in business and brought the necessary acumen required for the role. In 2009, she also obtained the MDP (Management Development Programme) qualification from the UFS Business School.

The Economic Impact of COVID-19

Bloem Show 2020 preparations began months before the show to ensure the annual success of the event. This year, an unexpected game changer called COVID-19, led to its cancellation for only the second time in its 137-year history – the first being during World War II.

A decision like this has a huge financial impact on all stakeholders, including exhibitors, farmers, service providers, and visitors, as well as on the sustainability of Bloem Show and its employees.

The Showgrounds Development Trust, the other arm of Bloem Show, markets facilities for special events, auctions, rental and storage space for commercial development throughout the year. The prohibition of the events industry has led to 40% of the facilities currently not being utilised, with 60% of retail and office rentals being severely impacted by restrictions on trade and public gatherings.

More than 1 200 temporary jobs are created each year, so the knock-on economic impact is felt in Bloemfontein, the Mangaung Metro, and the Free State. About 90% of visitors are from Mangaung, with 45% of the exhibitors and 40% of the agricultural participants being local. Utilising the economic multiplier effect, in excess of R100 million is generated annually for the benefit of the Mangaung region only – all lost due to COVID-19.

Managing Crisis

We had to re-focus, re-plan, adopt a positive outlook, and were intentional about the following:

  1. Leader-led communication and keeping people informed and encouraged during this time of uncertainty.
  2. Adaptability during times of change that ensure survival and success.
  3. Exploring possibility that resulted in Bloem Show ONLINE and a new social-media experience.
  4. Collaboration with artists, exhibitors, sponsors, and the community.
  5. The team sharing empathy and support.

COVID-19 created an opportunity to expand our online presence and provided a sales and marketing platform for artists and exhibitors alike. The online presence has generated an additional 35 000 Facebook followers over the 10-day period of the online show. Nothing replaces the ‘REAL’ Bloem Show experience, but we have created the much-needed brand exposure for all our stakeholders.

What I’ve experienced over the past few months, is that People need People. We’re all in different boats, but in the same storm, and we’re in this together. The team is planning Bloem Show 2021, to be hosted from 23 April to 1 May next year, and we look forward to welcoming back all our customers and visitors to the showgrounds.” – Elmarie Prinsloo, CEO, Bloem Show and Showgrounds Development Trust.

AlumNews 01-2020

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