Africa’s infrastructural deficit is mind-blowing. In Nigeria alone, there is an estimated need for a staggering $2.9tn to meet the infrastructural deficit in various sectors of the economy. This need is also reflected in the area of basic recreation, health and community services.
An analysis of this need in detail will shock the uninformed. However, while it may take time for our government to fully address these shortfalls, the smart investor and entrepreneur can convert these challenges to opportunities.
As you critically examine many residential areas in different parts of the country, one of the major omissions you will notice is the absence of various facilities that contribute to a higher quality of life. It seems that most of our residential areas are allowed to develop haphazardly without proper planning and regulation. Often, you will not find only a single recreation area or community centre. To make matters worse, where there is a provision made for this public facility, some of them may have been changed from their original use or the land allocated to such developments reallocated to individuals. Generally, it seems there is very little that the government does in this area.
The good news, however, is that several entrepreneurs are already making provisions for these deficits and those who can solve this problem will earn a handsome profit from doing so. One of those opportunities presents itself in the form of the provision of events centres. These are a form of community centres that are specifically built to provide an ideal place for individuals, organisations and workers for social interaction and happier family life.
One of the facilities’ that is in demand is the building and operation of event centres. They are relatively easier to build and operate than hotels and rental properties.
One of the key benefits of having these centres is the cash flow that a successful operator generates. If the centre has a high occupancy rate, it can be generating between N2m and N3m weekly.
Event centres also have the potential for spinoff businesses that can be created alongside such as rental of chairs and tables, sale of ice blocks, small chops and catering services.
In addition, the operation has significant benefit over rental properties in the aspect of payment of rents. When a person rents an event centre, he often pays in advance but when a person is a tenant, he may choose to pay his rent in arrears or delay the payment of rent.
It is also important to note that the viability of this project is not dependent on a particular area but rather on the amount of need.
Of course, its location should be accessible and the look of the building should be attractive.
It is also better to put up this structure in a visible area especially along a busy road that is easily seen by passerby. That aside, an event centre in a low to middle income area can do far better than the one built in a highbrow area.
The important fact is that if it is situated in an area where the need is great and the occupancy rate is high, it will be profitable.
Event centres are in different categories. The first category of event centres consists of major conference and convention centres that are usually centres of excellence. They are built according to landmark architectural designs and are usually constructed by the government.
The second category consists of centres that are usually built by individuals for the purpose of hosting social events like wedding receptions, naming ceremonies, birthdays and other social events.
The latter category is the subject of this write-up.
One of the primary considerations is a good and accessible location. A good events centre must have adequate space for the building and for parking.
In Lagos, for instance, a land that is to be used for an event centre should not be less than 1,000 square metre. There must be adequate space for parking. What some of the event centres have done is to buy additional land nearby and to dedicate it to parking. The bigger the land on which the event centre is built, the better since its benefit will be maximised.
A good event centre must not just provide the building but also associated services that will make the event a great success. One of the ways of doing this is to make available and accessible things that are often required and are often forgotten by the organisers of the event. Most people need ice blocks to cool their drinks, chairs, tables, serving plates etc. These items are often available at a good event centre but are hired out to their customers for a fee. A centre that offers good services will always attract customers.
To venture into this area, you will need a good event manager, who will not only manage the property but will also coordinate the marketing and management of the business.
Some event centres are in salient partnership with various organisations that refer clients to them. Others maximise their profit by renting the centre on non-peak time to organisations that prefer such times. For instance, Sunday is not a peak time for some organisations but for other organisations it is the most appropriate time for their activities.
These days, people are more concerned about security and they do have preference for event centres that possess that. Add to all these, a corporate image and minimal publicity and then you can have and enjoy a constant stream of steady cash on a weekly basis.
Abiodun Doherty Punch