Startup News Magazine

Messe Frankfurt – The name synonymous with trade fairs & exhibitions

The company has emerged as the leader in the segment in India, especially since Raj Manek, who traces his roots to Gujarat, took over its reins in 2011.

Trade fairs and exhibitions have come to be seen as key drivers of business and by extension the economy. Such trade fairs and exhibitions have also become very popular in India in the past few years and one common thread in many if not all such events is Messe Frankfurt, the name that has become synonymous with the world’s leading trade fairs and events.

Messe Frankfurt India is a subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt Gmbh, which has been in the business of bringing people together at events for some 800 years. The company has been present in India since 1991, the year India ushered in economic reforms and embraced liberalisation to set itself on a high-growth path. Messe Frankfurt’s fortunes in India changed in the year 2011 when Raj Manek took over the company’s reins.At the time, Techtextil India was Messe Frankfurt’s sole exhibition in India. Outbound business, i.e. taking Indian companies to international exhibitions and helping them establish a greater presence by enhanced visibility at trade fairs accounted, for the major part of its business. Mr. Manek realised the immense potential India offered as a hub for trade fairs and exhibitions and focused his attention on expanding the Indian market and facilitating business and networking opportunities at both Indian and international trade fairs. The vision was simple – to create the best trading platform for any industry sector.

“As a market, India is huge, second only to China. It is a critical industrial centre in several sectors. What was missing was an organised platform to bring the industry, buyers, sellers, suppliers, and other stakeholders together at trade fairs and exhibitions, and this is what we focused on. I am happy that we have been able to pioneer trade fairs and events in India and contribute to the growth and development of various industries through our events,” says Mr. Manek, under whose leadership Messe Frankfurt has taken a huge leap.From just 12 employees in 2011, Messe Frankfurt India is the group’s second largest subsidiary with 140 employees, over 20 prominent trade exhibitions, 30+ conferences, and two offices. In the past five years, the company’s turnover has shot up nearly seven times from 1.5 million euros (Rs. 12 crores) to 10 million euros (Rs. 80 crores). It has emerged as the leader in organising trade fairs and exhibitions in India and also promoting Indian companies around the world.

“We have gained a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the Indian market over the past three decades. Our events are unique because of our genuine expertise in organising top-notch international trade fairs, business-oriented atmosphere, and professional service. We have increased our presence in India and are looking to further scale up by tapping new opportunities. While we put a lot of effort into developing the greatest platforms, we also prioritise fostering information sharing and best practices. We are working very closely with important players, industry associations and government bodies,” said Mr. Manek, who is now Executive Director and Board Member of Messe Frankfurt Asia Holding Ltd, a subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

Incidentally, Mr. Manek, who was born and brought up in the UK, has roots in Gujarat. His grandfather had emigrated from the country in the 1930s and settled in Uganda. He has been instrumental in identifying and managing acquisitions, forming joint ventures, entering into license agreements, and management agreements that have fuelled Messe Frankfurt’s growth in India.Having worked for leading exhibition and conference organisers, publications and venue operators such as P&O Exhibitions, ITE Group, and Reed Exhibition Companies in the initial days of his career, Mr. Manek’s experience in the exhibition industry spans more than 25 years, of which 15 years have been in India. He also has extensive experience in Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

His expertise covers the entire spectrum of the exhibition organisation business, from creating, establishing, and managing profitable business partnerships with other exhibition organisers and media partners to launching events in a variety of different markets and industry sectors.

Mr. Manek aims to carry out his objective of strategic growth initiatives through advancement and penetration into new industrial areas and lead the company to its next stage of growth and development as Messe Frankfurt marks 25 years in India next year.

A passionate football fan and fitness fanatic who never skips a workout, and strongly believes that challenges be it in life or work need to be faced head on “I usually tell my team that obstacles are good. If everything goes smoothly, it will be monotonous. Every difficulty we overcome teaches us something and prepares us for a fresh challenge. It’s okay to make mistakes, but you must learn from them,” he says.