Two young men had one common goal: to one day become their own bosses. What they hadn't imagined was that in reaching for that goal, they could unearth avenues for social empowerment and allow innovation in a relatively slow-paced industry.
Introducing EducaTours JA - the brainchild of childhood best friends Kadeem Pet-Grave and Simier Lansend.
The educational tour company offers experiential learning through gamified field trips and tours. Pet-Grave and Lansend have been friends since prep school and went on to attend the same high school (Jamaica College) and university. It was while at The University of the West Indies, that the EducaTours idea came into play.
"The idea was born while we were studying. Whilst we were doing our first degree, the business plan was written," Chief Executive Officer Kadeem Pet-Grave told Youthlink.
Chief operating officer Simier Lansend continued, "We decided that we needed to do something that could make an impact - something that our grandchildren will actually see and say, 'Yes, we did something.' A friend of ours went away to Washington, did a tour and came back and said, 'Why not start a tour company for Jamaicans who don't know about Jamaica?' We thought about it and after doing our research, we realised that Jamaicans don't really pay for tours. So we said, why not do educational tours for students, because students do field trips. We thought about when we were at school, we didn't get certain experiences that we wanted to."
Along with groups of students, the tours are offered to corporate entities, but Lansend noted, "By the end of this year, we're supposed to be testing the tourism market."
The two-year-old business, launched only a few months after the duo graduated, is described as a social enterprise. This is embodied through the facilitation of a social mission that is answerable to four tenets: education, employment, inclusion and empowerment.
Kadeem explained, "All tours are educational, whether it is for fun, or team-building, it's always education. In terms of employment, we employ creative writers and creatives. We've gone beyond tour guides, now we're saying you can come with us as a first- or second-year student, learn project management ... have that to put on your résumé."
He continued, "Inclusion means providing tours for (everybody) - wards of the State, a man who wipes the class ... two to three times for the year, these people can feel like somebody. We've discovered that a small percentage of students can't afford to pay the full price for a tour - five in every 25 - so we're looking to use profits to subsidise the cost for that five in every 25. And (by) educating students, including students, and employing students, we are empowering students, so that's the social mission, and 40 per cent of our profits will be directed to that."
Keep up with EducaTours JA on social media, @EducaToursJA, or email email@example.com for bookings or queries. Telephone: 618-2036/547-7989.