Emax is where leading young entrepreneurs meet to get fresh inspiration, share knowledge and expand their network. The goal is to strengthen participant self-esteem, attitudes and approaches to entrepreneurship at an early stage of life, which also improves the long-term development of European countries.
Participants here gain a head-start in the business world by growing their contact network, gaining critical insights into entrepreneurial opportunities, and becoming motivated enough to take the risk and dare to invest in their passion.
The Emax team, determined to bring that same experience to their audience no matter what, plunged into the digital realm for their EMAX 2020 and EMAX Norway events.
No surprise here – the Emax team needed to go virtual. They’ve hosted a variety of events in the Nordics and even Kenya, but those were, naturally, all in-person and live.
So how could they create an inspiring experience where young entrepreneurs could grow their network from behind a screen?
“When COVID-19 hit us, we were all really insecure of how we could create our highly appreciated event in a digital setting. To be honest, internally we discussed that ‘good enough’ is okay this year. We always receive high scores in our evaluation, and we didn’t believe that they would be as high with a digital event," says Jonathan Rudman, CEO of Emax.
Going virtual can feel constraining. It lacks the elegance and grandiose of a live experience. Plus, when you build your event around growing your audiences’ network, the challenges can seem unsurmountable.
After all, how can attendees possibly forge real, relevant connections from behind a screen?
However, after some deliberation, the Emax team decided to use Brella, the world’s leading virtual event platform, to host their recent virtual event to ensure they could continue to provide their audience with a forum to learn and connect.
The Emax team used Brella at their Emax 2020 Sweden event for the first time, and had lower expectations than usual. As Rudman mentioned, “good enough” was their aim for the event.
However, they found surprising results from their usual post-event evaluation.
“We received the same score as we get from our physical events and, actually, a higher score in some important parts of our event. And what surprised us most was a higher score of networking virtually than when people are in the same room. The score of 5.45 in networking activities is .4 higher than normal and is directly correlated to our use of Brella."
"Networking is crucial for a successful event. The inspiration and knowledge gathered needs to be shared and reflected with others to really learn and improve."
As well, they asked their attendees how they felt about Brella and received excellent feedback.
“To make contacts with new people, as I have done, at Emax was totally new for me. You have a special environment here.”
“I had it totally wrong. I thought that it would be boring and I would not get to know anyone with the digital event. It was totally the opposite!”
The team at Emax was thoroughly surprised with their success and their attendee perception of their event – and also with how simple the platform was to use and update.
“We used the platform in a self-service mode and that was really easy for us. With several event managers we set up the event and information within Brella in an easy and fast way. It was also simple to make changes, which always appear when you arrange events.”
"And what surprised us most was a higher score of networking virtually than when people are in the same room."
Brella provides detailed analytics for all event managers, and in particular we measure the average engagement per user. This little number tells you instantly how engaged your audience is.
The average is around 16, but Emax had a whopping 27.8 and 38.8 at their events, which shows that their audience was ready and willing to make full use of their digital opportunity.
So what are Emax's plans for the future?
"We have a virtual event planned in the end November called 'Be the Future' where we will have 75 young women from Sweden, Latvia and Estonia to explore entrepreneurship as a kick-off for they entrepreneurial program that will last 6 months from the start. We will of course use Brella for that event and really go get networking between the countries."