What is Million Makers?

Million Makers is a corporate challenge whereby teams are formed to raise a minimum of £10,000 within a 6 month timeframe. The challenge is associated with The Prince’s Trust charity, where all funds raised go towards helping disadvantaged young people (aged 13 – 30) across the UK in getting into jobs, education and training; transforming lives for 40 years now! The entrepreneurial nature of the task involves securing an initial seed funding of £1,500 by going through an intense Dragons’ Den style pitch with Industry experts, after which fundraising and the competition with external participants truly commences.

This year’s team….

Team name: Pocket Aces

Team members from across Capgemini UK:

  • Kam Naik – Apps UK, Oracle
  • Luca Warren – Infra
  • Tiren Dhesi – Apps UK, SAP
  • Nahla Nasser – Apps UK, Oracle
  • Jake Roland – Capgemini Consulting
  • Henna Zia – Infra
  • Sakib Amin – BTS
  • Nash Uddin – Infra
  • Roland Grant – Capgemini Consulting

Target: £40K

Why I wanted to take part….

I wanted to take part in this year’s Million Makers challenge as at the time of applying (yes, there was an internal application process – a bit like a job interview!) I was new to Capgemini and thought the experience would provide a great networking opportunity to not only meet other graduates across Capgemini UK but to gain exposure to senior level management who are supportive of the cause and scheme.  I was also rather keen to get involved in something outside of my regular work duties, which would allow me to develop skills I wouldn’t necessarily pick up as a SAP Applications Consultant. For instance, presentation skills (what an experience pitching to Industry experts), marketing expertise and not to forget fundraising (it’s not as easy as it sounds).  Lastly, I thought it would be a FUN initiative to get involved with and despite the many challenges; it has not failed to meet expectations.

A day in the life of a Million Maker….

My official role in the Pocket Aces team is Head of Marketing and Communications and even though that sounds rather fancy, I do much more than that! The entrepreneurial nature of the task and the fact that the team is quite small in size encourages the whole team to pitch in. No two days are ever the same. I could be selling nutritious smoothies at an event to searching for musicians for a Gala Dinner to drafting official communications to gain momentum (and more importantly, donations) for the Million Makers challenge. On top of this, there are approval processes to go through, team meetings, calls with key stakeholders to attend, problems to solve, sponsorships to secure, promotional material to design and so forth. Did I mention this was all on top of my day job?

Favourite moment….

My favourite moment as part of this challenge has to be the Dragons’ Den style pitch – definitely at the top of the list of favourite moments. It was a gruelling time for the entire team as we went through hours of preparation, practice pitches (even via Skype with our mentor John Duncanson, MD Capgemini Scotland) and last minute changes to perfect our pitch. Personally, it was a great learning curve for me as in the run up to the pitch; I was feeling the most nervous due to my inability in being able to memorise my script word for word. This made me extremely anxious and resulted in a lot of dreaded pauses when practicing. I was over thinking and not performing. Let’s not forget the pressure of helping the team secure that much needed seed funding though!

So, you would have thought this may have made me a liability, right? Well, no! On the day (maybe a moment before the pitch was due to start) all my nerves vanished and suddenly I was in my element when presenting. . Turns out my segment of the pitch was great and I received very positive feedback on my personal presenting style.

Lessons learnt included:

  1. Just go with the flow.
  2. Do not over think it.
  3. There is no need for a rigid script.
  4. Don’t forget your team are there to support you. You are not alone.
  5. No one knows what you know, better than you. Confidence is key!

What’s next….

The team are currently planning a Great Gatsby themed Gala Dinner in Central London. I know I’m biased but it is going to be A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! We aim to bring the vision of F. Scott Fitzgerald to life, to create an undeniably memorable night for attendees. Although the planning stage is proving stressful, I look forward to travelling back in time to a more glamorous era to watch months of preparation transform into a truly spectacular evening and raise a significant amount of money for The Prince’s Trust.

Biggest learning so far….

I would say my biggest learning to date would be understanding how a global organisation such as Capgemini not only functions but is able to support initiatives such as the Million Makers challenge. As someone who has only worked for smaller companies in the past, it has been interesting, through this process, to gain exposure of Capgemini UK’s network with global parts of the Business e.g. Paris HQ as well as understand how the entire UK structure fits together and how they have been able to support the team in meeting our fundraising targets.

Further Information…

The Million Makers challenge is a great initiative to be involved with and is run each year if you are interested in taking part in the future. For any further information please check out the Million Makers webpage or alternatively email me for any queries: tiren.dhesi@capgemini.com

Lastly, you can keep up to date with the Pocket Ace’s Million Makers journey by following the team through Twitter:

  • Luca – @Luca_FWarren
  • Tiren – @TirenDhesi
  • Nahla – @NahlaNasser89
  • Jake – @jknowles_ccuk
  • Roland – @RolandGrant90