Meet BECMA, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts. Their goal is to advance the economic well-being of Black businesses, organizations that serve the Black community and Black residents of Massachusetts.
Every year they host a one-of-a-kind event that brings together Black business owners and entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and Black communities of the entire African diaspora in Massachusetts. The event features plenary sessions and workshops on crucial topics and gives business owners the opportunity to showcase their goods and/or services to institutional decision-makers, procurement officers, and potential new customers as well as a chance for participants to engage and learn from one another.
The goals of the MBE include highlighting Black businesses from all industries in the Commonwealth, connecting them with procurement opportunities in the private and public sectors, sharing resources that help grow emerging or existing businesses, and creating an ecosystem of Black entrepreneurship. The annual event is organized by the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA) and supported by important community partners and stakeholders.
No organization was spared when COVID-19 hit earlier this year, and although we hoped for life to go back to normal by the end of 2020, there’s still a long way ahead of us until that happens. Some decided to wait it out, whereas others are enduring through the crisis to the best of their abilities.
The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA) certainly understood that even though MBE could not take place in a physical setting as initially intended, it didn’t mean it had to be cancelled altogether. The primary driver for this event is providing support and expansion opportunities to minority-owned businesses and 2020 is the year when those companies need help more than ever, as from January 2020 to December 2020, nearly 30% of small businesses went out of business.
And so, with two months until the tradeshow, the search for the perfect virtual platform began for its consecutive second year. It was extremely important for BECMA to create a digital experience as close to the real thing as possible. Live events are about people and face-to-face interactions, which bring out a sense of community and mutual support amongst attendees; essentially, exactly the experience BECMA wanted to create!
The Solution/The Outcome
Trying to recreate the live experience is no easy task, but in this case, we’re confident the ARitize 3D Events platform came very close. The entire three-day event was a smooth ride for both participants on the user-friendliness side and organizers on the backend of the platform.
“This year, everyone has attended a virtual event where a million things go wrong. But, when they came to our event with Nextech AR Solutions, they experienced virtually no issues.”
The post-event feedback revealed that attendees felt thoroughly engaged and amazed by how professional the whole experience was, from the looks and functionality of virtual booths to mainstage presentations. The ability to easily access relevant information on each booth or book a tour was also noted and very well received. The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the final look of the lobby and mainstage, which gave the MBE the look of a real conference and a tradeshow.
“The lobby was the most popular aspect of the design and well-received by attendees. Many commented during and after the event saying that the Mass. Black Expo was the most professionally done event that they’ve been to all year.”
What also made the experience like a “life saver” for the team at the BECMA was the fact that most of the heavy lifting was taken care of by the Nextech AR Solutions team, so our team only had to focus on providing the content.
Virtual Events for A Better Future
While this virtual event was not expected and brought on by COVID-19's impact, it opened possibilities for further attendee participation. The association felt they only scratched the surface of a wider issue as traveling is a serious barrier when it comes to in-person business gatherings. After all, BECMA is a nationwide organization and has missed out on the opportunity to support minority-owned companies across the whole of the United States. This is one of the biggest benefits to hosting a virtual event, as guests avoid jetlag and take their time in the virtual space with everything they need right at their fingertips!
Ready to expand your reach with a virtual event? Check out our platform fit with all the essentials and exciting Augmented Reality features here!