Helping Associations Rebuild Post-Pandemic

Andrea Doyle, Executive Editor
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Helping Associations Rebuild Post-Pandemic
Shawn Pierce, President, Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives, MCI USA

MCI, a global engagement and marketing agency, has created an Association Investment Partner (AIP) program to help those associations that need funding to sustain and transform their events.

“We want to help those associations that are struggling as a result of the pandemic with this very unique offer,” Shawn Pierce, President, Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives, MCI USA, said. “Many are looking for outside sources of financing, especially in light of the pandemic and not being able to host a trade show or major event, a huge income source for them.”

The premise is simple. AIP will acquire a 20% stake in an association’s event and help them rebuild with the assistance of the MCI’s Strategic Event Management services. The association keeps its identity, ownership and control.

After five years, the association will have the option to buy back the 20% at the same valuation methodology as the original investment. If MCI has been able to markedly increase an event’s profit, the buy-back will be at a slightly higher multiple of profit than the initial investment.

The $25 million equity fund has been created by a private group of investors in Europe.

The MCI AIP Investment Board consists of senior association and trade show executives. They are tasked with not only helping to identify investments, but to offer ongoing strategic advice to the associations that take part in the program pre- and post-investment. Members include Velma R. Hart, FASAE, CAE, COO, CSI – Construction Specifications Institute; Galen A. Poss, CEM, Vice Chairman, dmg event; Robin Lokerman, FASAE, CMM, CDO, MCI Group; Alessandro Cortese, CEO, ESTRO; and Kai Troll, President and CEO, AssociationWorld.

“The idea behind the AIP program is to create a true strategic partnership with an association,” Poss said. “Whether they need to replenish their reserves after the pandemic crisis or build up their operations infrastructure as part of a plan for growth, or they have some other clearly defined need for capital, we want to create a relationship that makes good business sense for the association and also for MCI. Best of all, AIP lets us invest in associations in a strategic way that leverages our abilities to help restore events and keep associations focused on their core mission.”

Reach Shawn Pierce at shawn.pierce@mci-group.com or (972) 349-7320.