This virtual event was part of the Conventions & Events: Planning & Design subject module, where students were required to organise a wide scale event aligned to the School’s advocacy in experiential learning. Hosting events virtually is indeed a new experience and a challenging one for students.
Earlier this year when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was imposed, many local vendors and grocers were struggling to make ends meet. Datuk R. Ramanathan, the President of the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) mentioned that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for 40% of the country’s gross domestic product (New Straits Times, 2020) – a significant contribution to the nation’s economy. Furthermore, SMEs are facing bankruptcy and are seeking government intervention for financial aid to help sustain businesses because of the extended MCO (TheStar, 2020).
After this public outcry, social media platforms saw a boom in Malaysians providing support to these sellers through tags and hashtags. With this, the School of Hospitality students had a creative idea to set up a virtual platform for these local vendors, online vendors, micro businesses and small-medium enterprises to promote their products and services – that was how Jom LOKA came into fruition. Additionally, the event had a corporate social responsibility (CSR) component, whereby profits from the event would be channelled to PUAK Payong, a charity organisation advocating for a safe space for children through building self-esteem, knowledge and skills. This event also partnered with the notable SME Corporation Malaysia, a central agency for startups, micro businesses and SMEs. This event was also sponsored by Printcious.com, an online DIY gift printing platform.
The students and subject lecturer went through gruelling weeks to make this event a success! Jom LOKA became an e-commerce platform for 50 local vendors. To improve the engagement of the event Jom LOKA also included fitness and entertaining components with the Jom Fit (Zumba and Tabata), and Jom Dance (K-Pop dance cover competition) and Chill-lah (live entertainment sessions). Alumni were also invited to share about their entrepreneurial experience at the Fuiyoh Talk session.
Ms Hairani M Nur also highlighted, “This event had an upbeat vibe and was able to achieve impressive ‘reach’. The average Facebook post was able to reach out to at least over 2,000 people. There was an average of over 100 viewers for its live streaming sessions, a remarkable figure for student event projects. I felt that the students performed excellently and have truly shown that they are qualified event organisers. Their hard work has indeed paid off!”.