Ravindra Boratkar is the Managing Director of Asian Conventions & Expositions Pvt. Ltd. (ACE), which operates CIDCO Exhibition & Convention Centre (CECC) at Vashi in Navi Mumbai. He is also the Managing Director of MM Activ Sci Tech Communications Pvt. Ltd. MM Activ is in organising science & technology related Conferences, Trade Shows, Exhibitions etc. Mr Boratkar is the Publisher of the magazines BioSpectrum (India and Asia editions) covering life & bio sciences, medtech& healthcare sectors, and NuFFooDS Spectrum, which caters to new generation health and medicine foods sector. All the three magazines are published by media division of MM Activ. Mr Boratkar is on the boards of few other companies/trust/societies which helped me to expand my horizon and gain insights of various sectors, trade and industry. To name the few, he is President of the Maharashtra Economic Development Council, a leading policy research organization which has a mandate to act as a Think Tank for the overall Economic Development of Maharashtra and Chairman of the Central India Central Consumer Co-operative Society which runs chain of Purti Super Bazaar. He is Director on the Boards of – i) CIAN Agro Industries & Infrastructure Ltd. ii) Purti Power & Sugar Ltd. iii) SCI – Knowledge Interlinks Pvt. Ltd. iii) Pro-Fit Advertisers Pvt. Ltd. and a Former Director of Sri NarkesariPrakashan Ltd. which publishes a veteran Marathi Daily, “Tarun Bharat.”
Exhibition Showcase spoke to Mr Boratkar about his professional journey and the CIDCO venue which his company operates.
What are your present professional responsibilities?
As the Managing Director of ACE, my main responsibility is to establish CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Centre at Navi Mumbai as the most user-friendly venue for both the Event Organisers and Business Visitors. Fortunately, CIDCO Exhibition & Convention Centre is the only specially designed and built facility for organising the Conferences and Exhibitions in this region and now ACE is supplementing that with a prompt service and responsive attitude towards the various needs of the event organisers. Efforts of the ACE team has resulted into more and more known and also new brands of exhibitions and conferences now turning to CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Centre and the organisers experiencing complete satisfaction over the services provided by ACE. International events like International Union of Food Science and Technology Congress (IUFoST), Non-Destructive Evaluation Expo (NDE Expo), No Dig Expo, BlueCon, Materials Engineering and Technology Expo & Conference, have taken place and India International Poultry Expo, MAPCON, IACDE, Truck Trailer and Tyre Expo &Prawas will be held soon at CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Centre.
But we know that we have yet to create many more benchmarks. As the ACE has taken over the operation of the CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Centre just over a year back there is lot of work involved as we are laying down new systems. We are also aggressively marketing the venue.
When and how you started your professional journey?
My professional journey started right from my student days. While doing my Post-Graduation in Management (MBA), I was working with a leading daily of the region as a Management Trainee, in Advertising and Circulation departments. When I finished my MBA, I started my own Advertising Agency, which in couple of years bagged several awards. Later, I joined hands with a Pune based Agency, which was later rated amongst top 50 Ad agencies in India.
In year 2000 we ventured for the first time in organising Science Exhibition under the guidance of Dr R AMashalkar and in few years our company was renamed as MM Activ Sci -tech communications Pvt. Ltd., focussing on Events, Media and Advisory.
Other than huge Expo Halls and Conference Halls on multiple floors with various capacities, CIDCO also has an Art Gallery, An Auditorium with good acoustics, Green Rooms, Rehearsal Rooms etc. The entire venue has an uninterrupted power supply with generator back-up.
Surrounded by numerous hotels, the venue has ample parking facility. No monopoly of vendors at the exhibition centre and the convention center has a choice to select from 7 competent service providers and F&B companies each. Each hall at the exhibition centre has space provided for setting up food-court. Additionally a full-fledge restaurant cum food-court is already in operation at the exhibition centre, which can cater to exhibitors’ requirements of F&B even during the set-up period.
The venue has facilities to conduct various aspects of exhibitions and events like trade display, conferences, seminars, workshops, inaugurals, round table discussions, get-togethers, gala evenings and cultural events. It can accommodate from 25 people to 10,000 people in its various halls. CECC has air-conditioned exhibition space of over 13000 sqmts and provision to create hanger spaces of over 5000 sq mts.
Each exhibition hall is equipped with auxiliary service areas like organiser’s office, registration block, media room, VIP room and large foyer area for pre-function activities. The halls are equipped with Wi-Fi & CCTV facilities and generator back-up.
What are your upcoming plans?
To establish CIDCO Exhibition & Convention Centre as user-friendly and preferred venue and gear it up for the activities which shall grow many folds in years to come after the new international airport becomes operational, which is very close to our facility.
What is your view about the MICE sector?
This sector is growing fast and has potential to grow further, needs more infrastructure to support the growing business.
What have been your learnings in life from your business trips?
Main learning in life is be positive, there’s always a silver lining to a dark cloud, in every problem there is an opportunity.
What are your favorite exhibitions globally?
NABSHOW, Las Vegas, US BIO.
How do you view the significance of exhibitions and conventions?
Exhibitions and Conventions have a great significance to promote collaborations, JVs, amongst the stake holders and also help establish better dialogue between the Industry, Regulators, Academia, Scientific Fraternity and policy makers. It offers a great platform to promote new technologies, products, services and the best industry practices.
What in your opinion, services should be provided to organizers to make event better?
It’s important for the venue operator to understand the needs of event organisers, and to provide them with the services that should be complementary to make the event a great experience and huge success for all those involved. So while maintaining the discipline of the venue facilities, the venue operators should be adequately flexible to accommodate the requirements of the event organiser to make his show successful.
What difference do you observe in the venues in India and venues outside India?
What were the important milestones in your professional journey?
Of course, the major milestone was floating my own advertising agency after doing the Post-Graduation in Management. The agency, in its second year of inception itself won the Award of fastest growing advertising agency in that region i.e. Nagpur & Vidarbha.
Then of course, joining hands with Pune based creative agency to operate on a state level with more creative and marketing resources was one more milestone. Handling national BJP Campaign twice and doing advertising/PR campaign for the first mega fund raising by any state govt. i.e. for Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation MKVDC, MSRDC etc. and taking Market Missionaries to the ‘Top 50 Advertising Agencies in India’ as per the then A&M survey.
After couple of Exhibitions renaming the company and changing the entire focus to the Sci Tech Event management, i.e. launching of MM Activ Sci Tech Communications Pvt Ltd is the next milestone. This was followed by launch of MMA’s Media Division and starting Singapore office.
Being part of the some Socio-Economic initiatives such Central India Central Consumers Co-Operative society, Indian Federation of Green Energy, Agrovision Foundation as their founder member, and also being part of institutions like MEDC – I consider them as some more milestones.
‘Exhibitions and Conventions have a great significance to promote collaborations, JVs’
How big a team do you lead and how do you go about your leadership role?
At ACE for CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Center we operate with a small team of professionals and all our maintenance, housekeeping etc. activities are outsourced to some of the reputed and highly experienced professional agencies.
My role is to motivate them to create a better experience every time for the users & organisers at our venue and set systems for the best in industry standards. Also to constantly review the performance of vendors and set some benchmarking for various services we offer.
We have about hundred people working in the MMA group. Of them nearly ten are in media division and an equal number of people work with ACE at Vashi. Rest all are working with our events division spread in different cities across the country like New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Nagpur.
Together with ACE, MMA and other organisations where I am in executive role as Managing Director or President I am leading a team of about 250 personnel and is responsible for approximately combined turnover of 100Cr.
What major challenges you faced in your career?
Challenges are many, and I am sure every challenge has helped me to strengthen my determination to succeed. Each challenge offers you an opportunity to rediscover yourself, your organisations abilities and do some out-of-the-box thinking to achieve your goal.
What are the specialties of CIDCO Exhibition Centre that makes it different from other Venues?
CECC is purpose-built, integrated exhibition and convention venue strategically located on Sion-Panvel highway, outside Vashi railway station in Navi Mumbai. It is just 26 Kms (45 minute drive) from Mumbai airport and 20 Kms (25 minute drive) from Bandra-Kurla complex.
Venues abroad used to have a far better infrastructure but this gap is reducing now. We still have to catch up in terms of number of venues / options and perhaps need many many more venues of varied facilities and capacities. We must also appreciate, venues in India are more flexible and responsive to the last-minute need of the organisers.
What is your favorite cuisine?
Traditional Maharashtrian & Bengali Cuisine.
Your favorite hobby?
Your favorite movie?
Difficult to name one.
Who is your inspiration?
What is your favourite quote?
Be Bold, Be Strong, and take the whole responsibility on your shoulder.
What message would you like to give to the youth who want to be successful in exhibition industry?
Keep your eyes and ears open. Use the opportunity to enrich yourself with the knowledge of various products, services and industry sectors you get an opportunity to work with. Strive for the success of your client and you shall certainly succeed.