EVA president Paolo Ghidotti

The EVA held its online AGM & Conference ‘Getting back on track’ on 10 December, addressing the current situation while trying to identify opportunities for the coming years.

Nearly 140 participants joined the online event which incorporated both the Annual General Meeting (AGM) as well as a useful Conference entitled ‘Getting you back on track.’

The EVA AGM outlined the key activities of this year, including the coronavirus response and ongoing assistance for members, in addition to the results of number of significant votes (carried out through an online platform in the preceding days) being revealed. In two unanimous votes, EVA members approved the new legal statutes, required due to a change in Belgian law governing associations, as well as agreeing to an extension of one year to the executive committee (EC) mandate. This later decision came as a result of the impact of the pandemic and the need for more time for the current board to continue implementation of the EVA strategy.

Director General Erwin Wetzel presented the first results of the December edition of the EVA COVID-19 impact report, with a number of changes in attitudes across Europe compared to the initial July report to how the pandemic continues to affect vending. Some examples include that both vending operators and suppliers are seeing less of a reduction in turnover compared to the Spring – even if losses still remain of course significant, and are now less satisfied with governmental support than during the initial lockdowns which is a sign that government support is gradually reducing. With the reintroduction of new restrictions in a lot of markets this Autumn, the forecast for 2021 is even less optimistic, with continued working from home expected by players to be the main cause for this.

Ahead of the main conference, participants were able to hear the latest innovations and plans for business improvements through presentations made by 365 Retail Markets, OTI, EVOCA and NAYAX in separate breakout rooms, selected by attendees upon registration.

The keynote conference speaker was Dhiraj Mukherjee, an experienced digital business executive and co-founder of the billion-dollar company Shazam. He drew on his experience of early challenges developing the business to deliver an inspirational speech for vending professionals highlighting that companies need to “design for and thrive on uncertainty.” Particularly relevant as we live through the consequences of this crisis, he called on attendees to open up to new ideas and possibilities, look at the world and markets through the eyes of others and just have a chat with a teenager for motivation. As we move into a new year he used the visual image of driving a car at night with headlights – we can see only what’s directly in front of us at this moment, but eventually we will still arrive at the destination.

EVA President Paolo Ghidotti concluded the event by invoking the recent declaration by Time Magazine that 2020 is the worst year ever. Perhaps in our lifetimes it is, he explained, but the best way for vending to overcome our current challenges is to work with each other now more than ever, find common solutions and keep optimistic for the future.
Participants are able to download the main presentations from the event while the new EVA COVID-19 impact report is freely available for EVA members or can be purchased by non members.

About the European Vending & Coffee Service Association
The European Vending & Coffee Service Association (EVA) is a not-for-profit organisation established and situated in Brussels since 1994. It represents the interests of the European coffee service and vending industry vis-à-vis the European Institutions and other relevant authorities or bodies. Its membership is composed of national associations and individual companies across Europe. The EVA represents all segments of the coffee service, water dispenser and vending industry: machine and component manufacturers, suppliers of commodities (coffee, ingredients, snacks, cold drinks, cups etc.), and operators.

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