The Worx emc is a total event management consultancy company behind some of the most thought-provoking and creative conferences taking place throughout the MENA region. One in particular has become such a much anticipated annual event that is growing through the years in size and content, the Creative Industry Summit that is. Behind this company are two enthusiastic and passionate women, which nothing seems to stop. ArabAd caught up with co-partners Mai Salama and Naamat Khalil to learn more about The Worx.
How did the idea of The Worx come to be? Mai Salama: We started in 2015 and it's been a crazy ride yet an amazing ride ever since. When we set out to start the company, we agreed that we wanted to do things differently. Back then we decided that we would act more like consultants; we would focus on quality and experience then just running events. We also wanted to do our own events in order to drive the creative industry forward. We felt there is a void with regard to creative events, so we thought that it would be good to have a platform that would voice out creativity and bring together the professionals, help people network, showcase all the great stories.
Tell us a bit about your main event, the Creative Industry Summit... Naamat Khalil: Creative industry Summit is not only about advertising. It's about celebrating creativity in all its forms. Having said that we have one edition which is the Ramadan edition that is dedicated to the advertising field, most proficient season of the year. it's the Super Bowl and the Christmas season of Egypt.
Did you feel there is was demand for more industry-related events? M.S: Yes we do believe there is a demand. There needs to be a platform were people can network and get exposed to new trends, earn from the best and where people can share their success stories. We believe that the creative industry is the platform for that. This segment is growing in Egypt. Recently the Creative Industry Summit was one of the early adopters to bring it back. I don’t want to sound arrogant but we are happy to be among the early adopters and now many others are developing likewise platforms, and conferences and we are pleased to see this happening, as tho contributes to developping the market further.
What's the current state of the advertising industry in Egypt? M.S: We believe the current state is great. We are coming back in terms of budgets; things have been improving for the past year and a half. We’ve got great talents, great work. It is a a great time and it’s only getting better.
Putting up such events is no mean feast…What major challenges are you facing? N.K: It is not an easy job yes. Putting it together is a tough job. Well, to be honest… I am happy to say there are no challenges anymore; the only challenges we have currently is how to always innovate, inspire and offer content of great value. We don’t want to be always redundant and we always want to bring something of great value. If we lose that we lose the essence of our work.
M.S: Having said that, the main challenges were present at the beginning. It wasn’t attracting the right candidates to speak. But because we got the connections so people trusted us, trusted our experience, our background and our reputation in the market. They were very supportive to come and speak and we are very thankful to all those who believed in us from the very beginning. I think the challenge was mostly in finding the sponsors at the beginning. We delivered what we promised at the beginning and the result today speaks for the event, as people look out to the creative summit. The real challenge remains in enhancing the offering at each edition.
We heard that you just stroke a deal with Cannes Lions. What this partnership entails? N.K: Yes we have been awarded the official and exclusive local representation for Egypt. What does it mean? It means that we can do local ceremonies, creative nights, training, best showing of Cannes. We can promote judges and jurors. We can do the Young Lions Competition, and help the youngsters get exposed to the Cannes Experience. We can get involved in the content, recommend speakers, content ideas and topics. We are part of the team. We can also organise local events on behalf of Cannes Lions. We plan to do a lot, mainly trainings, Directors' Night and Creative Directors Night. We plan to try really hard to help and educate the young generation in support and in collaboration with foreign experts. We believe it is very important to expose the young with the experience of professionals from abroad. So we can help in creating a new generations well exposed professionals.
What's next? M.S: Well next year we are more focused on our products more than clients' products. Nexy year we are all geared for the Cannes Lions new partnership. And we will be introducing trainings, workshops, the Nights i.e. Directors Night or the Media Night. We are creating a full marketing plan for the whole year and this activity and marketing plan will keep us busy and this should be very interesting.
N.K: Of course the Creative Industry Summit will keep on growing in addition to our Cannes Lions, our main focus for 2019.