Viviane Vaz for 2East Benelux

Last 22 May, 2East Benelux received full coverage at the dossier section of De Tijd newspaper, the greatest reference in economics and business in Belgium.  The Belgian journalist Marie Van Oost, in her article “Instead of beer we now pour hand gel”, remarks how 2East reinvented itself in times of the Covid-19, moving from supplying drinks at major events to using its “backpacks to distribute disinfectant gel”.

The Business journalist explains 2East is a Portuguese company, founded in 2004, and “world leader of its kind”. The Benelux branch was established last year by three Belgian entrepreneurs in the events sector: Christophe Barbé, Tijs Vandenbroucke and Ellen Rigaux.

“In 2019 we had a few test events behind us: the Tour of Flanders, the Tour de France, concerts in Palace 12 or the Sportpaleis, but also major fairs, where we served coffee. This summer was filled with festival assignments,” says Barbé in the interview to Van Oost. He combines the job with his travel and event agency Id International, while Vandenbroucke and Rigaux are behind the Ghent event planner First In Line.

“We got the idea to use our material in a different way. Now that public life is gradually getting going again, hand hygiene is more important than ever. Through some technical interventions – a nebuliser instead of a tap – we can serve people with disinfectant gel 100% without contact. We knew it was possible, because our Portuguese colleagues used to distribute sun cream at the request of Nivea,” explains Barbé.

Today 2East counts with hundreds of backpacks in stock. De Tijd details that the company is currently using “20 backpacks in Belgium”, to help people disinfect their hands in public places “as efficiently as possible – ‘quickly and dosed, without waste’”.

In the interview, Barbé highlights 2East Benelux has served the garden center Intratuin near Ghent and the Meir, the main shopping street in Antwerp. “Now we are also in contact with universities, football stadiums, thematic parks and a large supermarket chain. Airports and stations can also make good use of our technology,” suggests the 2East co-founder.

Besides, 2East Benelux counts with a great marketing tool. “We can personalize our backpacks and flags according to the client,” reveals Barbé to De Tijd.

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