Member Spotlight: Neo Mohlatlole from 7 Colors Communications

Each month we shine the light on an Event Greening Forum member who is making noteworthy achievements in their event greening efforts. This month we want to introduce you to Neo Mohlatlole, an entrepreneur who co-founded 7 Colors Communications and is an EGF Vice Chairperson (alongside Lisa Jade Kirkham).

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Q: WHO IS NEO – AND HOW YOU CAME TO BE ON THE EGF’S MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE?
Neo is an entrepreneur and greening enthusiast. I joined the EGF early on after it’s inception as a stand in for another greening legend, Sonja Walls. I was then appointed as greening warrior on behalf of the company that I used to work for. When I launched 7 Colors Communications, I knew I wanted to implement most of the initiatives that are promoted by the EGF.
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My Passion for sustainability started in primary school when our boreholes kept drying up (farm school chronicles).
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Q: WHERE DOES YOUR INTEREST IN AND PASSION FOR SUSTAINABILITY COME FROM?
My Passion for sustainability started in primary school when our boreholes kept drying up (farm school chronicles). Over the years we learnt about sustainability and the importance of looking after our planet given some of the horrid reactions from global warming. I also had an opportunity to work as the Centre Manager at the Green Design Centre at Waterfall, which was a project run by Decorex and Reed Exhibitions at the time.
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Our absolute favourite event greening tip is the inclusion of local suppliers in our procurement for projects. We were participating in an exhibition in Venice with one our clients, and we advised them to print all collateral in Venice to help reduce the carbon footprint of flying everything out there. This worked out so well that all the shows they participate in now they look for local suppliers in the region.
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Q: PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR COMPANY, 7 COLORS COMMUNICATIONS, AND HOW YOU INCORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY INTO WHAT YOU DO.
7 Colors Communications is a communications agency implementing through Public Relations, Events and Exhibitions. We run the only exhibition targeted at Stokvels, that on it’s own has a strong reach in terms of the sustainability and survival of African Women. We follow most of the guidelines as adopted by the EGF in the Minimum standards. Our absolute favourite is the inclusion of local suppliers in our procurement for projects. We were participating in an exhibition in Venice with one our clients, and we advised them to print all collateral in Venice to help reduce the carbon footprint of flying everything out there. This worked out so well that all the shows they participate in now they look for local suppliers in the region. We had a conference in Bloemfontein and hired all the services required for the event in the area. The client was skeptical at first, as they are used to flying down all the suppliers, but this turned out to be one of their best shows yet.
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Q: WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES, IN TRYING TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE (BOTH ENVIRONMENTALLY AND SOCIALLY)? AND YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESSES?
The challenges come when certain clients don’t buy into the initiatives that we want to push, or most recently the local community were upset that we hired locals from a different section of the township to where the event was held. We have been able to convince a few clients to follow this route, it took a while, but now they are glad they hopped on when they did.
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Give small businesses a chance, don’t set them up for failure.
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Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS, THAT YOU WISH SOMEONE HAD SHARED WITH YOU WHEN YOU WERE STARTING OUT?
Relationships get you further in business, so nurture them. Have a full understanding of your industry. Link up with the leaders and learn from them. Get a good financial adviser and listen to them.
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Q: IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND AND CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE SA MICE EVENTS INDUSTRY TO MAKE IT MORE SUSTAINABLE, WHAT WOULD THAT ONE THING BE?
Access for small businesses. The industry is booming and most beneficiaries are the bigger guys. Create a system where a portion of the work be subcontracted to small businesses.

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Q: ANY FINAL WORDS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Give small businesses a chance, don’t set them up for failure. In line with your deliverables to client, look for options where you can rope them in.

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To learn more about 7 Colors Communication, you can view its EGF member profile here.

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