Whether twenty years is a long time depends on perspective. For a building, or a tree, it is the blink of an eye. In business, though, it stands for success: a solid enterprise, moving with the times and growing to become an industry leader. CIMGlobal – the Indian meetings industry specialist – are the perfect example of this. In their first twenty years, they have gone from humble beginnings to one of India's most illustrious exports, and the now international team are keen to keep growing.
Though they were only small to begin with – the company started with just two employees – they experienced speedy growth and now employ over 100 people across Asia, Europe and Africa.
Despite the danger of starting a new company, CEO and founder Prasant Saha could see the benefits: "I knew that we could sell a substantially better service than the competition," he says.
But how has the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) industry changed since the late '90s? A lot, according to Saha. "The very first job we did was organising the Indian Science Congress in the late 90s. Back then, events like that were very much focussed on speakers, standing at a lectern, delivering a speech," he says. "That still works, of course, but now we can do so much more. Technology has allowed us to bring a conference to life with curated digital content that totally zeroes in on what matters for each event and each customer.
"We can live stream the keynote, too, so your target market suddenly becomes global. We can create a buzz around an industry like never before. Some of this stuff was unthinkable twenty years ago!"
It is a testament to their long-term vision that Saha and his CIMGlobal team are still running the Indian Science Congress: the latest event took place in March this year.
But there's no doubt that working in such a complex industry can bring challenges. When the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland in 2010, it infamously grounded the entire European airspace for days. For a sector that relies on international travel, how a company deals with such unpredictable events can be its defining moment.
And that is the essence of CIMGlobal's success. "We've always focussed on getting the very best for our clients, " Saha explains. "If you understand their business and what they need to grow, that will always lead to strong, sustainable growth for you as well."
His vision for the future is simple: ‘Innovate; Deliver; Repeat’.
And who can argue with that? Happy birthday, CIMGlobal!