ENTECH Roadshow, scheduled for early March, hangs in the balance as border closures drag on and states show readiness for immediate lockdowns. A decision to cancel the event for 2021 was to be made today, but the Government Business Events Grant scheme has added complications.
The Balmain (NSW) Grafton family company applied in November for the grant which refund exhibitor clients 50% of their spend. On Christmas Eve, Austrade – who administer the grants – awarded Diversified Communications a grant for its Integrate show in July. Austrade said they will approve more events ‘by the end of January’, so ENTECH may yet gain access to the scheme which promised to ‘Restart Business Events’.
“They simply ticked the largest 100 of the 700 events that applied,” said Julius Grafton. “In our case it threatens to KILL our 2021 event. Fingers crossed; time is running out for us in 2021.”
Grafton says ENTECH exhibitors need to plan, but planning anything in a pandemic is very difficult. “Most likely we will just cancel ENTECH at the end of this week, and refund all the exhibitors as we have all their money in trust. Then we’ll come back next year with the three city tour and resume national the year after. We also have ENTECH NZ scheduled next year, and another new event that I am super excited about”.
With no events income Grafton and his partner Kate McKenzie have found alternative employment. “I started lighting strip shows in the 1970s, but none of the clubs are open,” he quipped. “So I’m doing what many ex-roadies are qualified to do – driving a bus.”
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