The covid pandemic threw the whole world into turmoil as a result of mass deaths, illnesses and economic destabilization hence some pounced on the opportunity to be corrupt with reports from countries like South Africa and Madagascar amongst others.
In the midst of all this, five post-graduate students came up with an innovation towards a gap witnessed during the pandemic whereby as well with shutdowns everywhere graduation ceremonies could not be held.
The students who came up with the idea are Chido Anne Chiwaura, Petronella Nozipho Tshili, Munyaradzi Takurira, Brian Mushakwe and Lionel Shayahama.
Events and customers services manager, Chido Chiwaura said a graduation ceremony is vital after having some hard sweat years of learning.
“A graduation ceremony is one of the most important things that a student can go through after the sweat of learning. Therefore, to be told these would not be held was a big blow,” she said.
The students also added that, ” We then came up with an idea to host virtual graduation ceremonies ,a proposal that was received by most colleges and universities.”
There was a sweep of success for the young entrepreneurs who to this day are grateful to their stakeholders such as Holiday Inn and filming companies who gave them an office to carry out payments for the first graduations .
Co-founder and marketing director at Engage MICE, Brian Mushakwe and Petronella Tshili said, “What started our as part of our practical assignments in our Tourism studies went on to be the breakthrough we needed. We were fortunate to have stakeholders who believed in us like Holiday inn, Pixels studios and Vaulttronix media for partnering with us” they said.
They attribute their success to being focused and having stakeholder relations that build.
Munyaradzi Takurira and Lionel Shayahama added that, “We were just students ourselves ourselves we started,never ran businesses so what has helped us has been to learn quickly from various stakeholders.”
When they successfully hosted their own virtual graduation as part of their coursework, word quickly spread across and they were soon invited to various schools to facilitate such events.
However, it was not without its challenges as part of the colleagues who had been part of the group were their biggest critics who couldn’t believe a coursework assignment could turn into a business.
The students all explained that most of the original members of the then Epic events dropped out as no one saw the brand growing.
“The following week we got a call from HIT students requesting similar services and we were in business! We exist because we solved the headache all institutions were having, hosting graduations during Covid. We later rebranded to eMICE as the name Epic Events belonged to a group of over 40 people,” explained the students.
The endgame for eMICE is being a household name in both events and tourism industries.
Mushakwe also said by initially being the first team to offer virtual graduations, they then further on hosted a number of virtual meetings, expos and tours as people were all isolating during the height of the pandemic.
The vision of eMICE is to be a one-stop shop for events, travel and holidays and this is slowly becoming a reality.
Chido Anne Chivaura