STEPHEN OEHLEY

FOUNDER, XTENDEVENT.COM

" CREATIVITY IS AT THE CORE OF INNOVATION."

- STEPHEN OEHLEY, FOUNDER, XTENDEVENT.COM

I’m just a boy from Benoni inspired by a loving family and good friends that put values first. My proudest contribution to this world will always be my son Nicholas, who inspires everyone around him. My career has primarily been B2B focused and spanned trade publishing, trade exhibitions, running a digital solution focused industrial advertising agency and digital trade marketing consulting.

It was my experience as an exhibition organiser that really demonstrated the need for innovation in this industry, where it was not uncommon for only 10% of exhibitors contacted to participate in an event. To have nothing to offer to over 19 000 prospects who declined to exhibit was a sobering thought that cemented the idea that there had to be a better way. The traditional system of exhibitions has also been historically
expensive, effectively restricting participation of smaller businesses and start-ups.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

- Mark Twain.

This drove me to create Xtendevent.com, with a vision to establish this platform as the leading one-stop destination in Africa for trade buyers to engage brands, solutions and suppliers as manufacturers, brand managers as well as trade marketing and sales professionals.

Based on my experiences, I’d advise aspiring entrepreneurs that they need to factor in the time it’ll take for them to reach a point where their idea will generate sufficient revenue for them to survive.

I also strongly believe that creativity is at the core of innovation. However, it takes a specific mindset, and you need a thorough understanding of your industry before you innovate.

Africa is the ideal region for this platform due to the rise in investment interest in African start-ups and the upsurge of digitally savvy talent, along with the fact that African B2B services are vastly disparate with African countries’ markets being
greatly underserved.

My vision for this industry is one where virtual customer experiences will play more meaningful roles where technology will be king with enhanced data analytics tools. I foresee virtual events trending in B2B circles, becoming more immersive and emphasising interactivity, automation, networking, and fun edutainment.

“Impossible is just an opinion.”

- Paulo Coelho

Submit your Innovation Story

Join and network with a global community of innovators  by sharing your success story with the world.