An Eventful Endeavor: Natalie Crampton, Founder And Managing Director of TEC
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“Having an office in Doha was not initially part of our business plan, however our clients were satisfied with the work we produced in Dubai and often asked how we could help them in other GCC countries. Qatar kept cropping up in conversations,” says Natalie Crampton, founder and Managing Director of TEC. TEC, formerly known as The Event Company, first opened its doors for business in 2008 in Dubai, UAE. When Qatar won the 2022 World Cup in 2010, the following year, TEC expanded operations to Doha. The company delivers diverse projects ranging from conferences and product launches to large-scale events and exhibitions. In Qatar, the majority of TEC’s requests are for corporate events including conferences, seminars and product launches.
“TEC’s mission is to extend the marketing message through the finest events the industry has seen that are meticulously planned and flawlessly executed. We strive to be one of the world’s leading event agencies and have a 10-year plan in place to help us meet this objective.” Crampton recalls the challenges faced prior to expanding to Doha, such as travelling back and forth from Dubai in order to execute projects, not to mention incurring costs spending time in the process. “We were also not able to meet our service standards that we had done so well at developing in Dubai. For example, clients would often request meetings at short notice, which we weren’t able to accommodate. Not having an office in Doha also meant that quality control was much harder to manage.” Adding to the fact the initial hurdles of the municipality permissions and approvals like in many of the GCC countries. “Another initial challenge was the culture. Before we began operations in Qatar, I thought the culture would be the same as the UAE, but soon realized there are many subtle differences that impact projects. This challenge has been overcome [sic] with experience and hiring a team that are familiar with the local market.”
On a positive note, Crampton describes how they were very fortunate in reference to their clients in Qatar, which were initially clients in the UAE. “This meant that breaking into the Qatar market was not as difficult as it would have been if we were a startup. Over time our reputation in Qatar grew which helped us to secure Qatar-based clients.” Among TEC’s portfolio of confirmed events within the next sixth months include big name hitters from across sectors and industries, like HSBC, flydubai, Cisco, Estee Lauder, Lexus, and OSN.
Crampton believes there are three key factors that make TEC stand out in a very crowded sector and competitive marketplace. First, TEC’s impressive market reach as they have experience in executing events in more than 15 countries throughout the Middle East, Russia and Europe. “A benefit for clients is that they have to brief and manage one agency that can ensure brand consistency throughout every country. This is also more cost effective then recruiting a different agency in every location.” Secondly, delivering exceptional client servicing: “We have worked extremely hard on setting our client servicing standards and believe that we deliver a second-to-none customer experience.” The third strength is supply-based. TEC keeps their own stock of props, staging materials, and even event furniture. In Dubai, they have a 5000 sq. ft. warehouse packed full of furniture, decor and props, which are transported when required throughout the region. “This allows us to have flexibility on costs and work within our clients’ budgets as we have very few third party suppliers. We also have smaller warehouse facilities in Cairo, Doha, and Kuwait.”
In August of this year, TEC officially rebranded from their former full title, since their services gradually evolved over the years. Initially, the company was purely a corporate events agency, however over time their clients requested to manage their digital campaigns, PR, and more recently, social media. “Whilst the name The Event Company initially worked very well for us, in the last couple of years it has been somewhat limiting. We were unofficially known by many of our clients as TEC so this seemed like the most natural name to go with.” With regards to the entrepreneurial environment in Qatar, Crampton believes it is the land of opportunities, and she admires and loves the passion for growth and ambition that the country has. The MD says that she has seen clients in Qatar change over the years, dramatically becoming more professional in the ways they do business. Some examples? Procurement departments have been created; thorough background checks are now executed, and there is more thought than ever before going into the event goals and objectives, according to Crampton.
As a female entrepreneur in the region, Crampton highlights how this has not made it more or less difficult as she is strong willed by nature. “I was 22 years old when I started TEC in Dubai, and I would love to say that I had a watertight business plan, but that is not the case. There was no business plan and no financial projections, just a lot of passion and determination.” Apart from being present in the UAE and Qatar, they also have a small office in Kuwait, and have plans to launch in Saudi Arabia soon. “We have also just opened our first office outside of the Middle East in Singapore and our first two Singaporean colleagues have both started in the last month. I am very excited about what the future holds for us.”