Oprah Wannabe

Thursday, 25 February 2010


Nicola Brentnall (Secretary to The Prince's Trust), ME (Founder, Emi & Ben), Tim Campbell (Founder, Bright Ideas Trust)

Last night I was invited to give a speech at an annual award ceremony which celebrates money raised by companies who take part in an initiative named ‘Million Makers’ - a corporate fundraising challenge developed by the young people’s charity The Prince’s Trust.

As a the founder of a company which is supported by the Trust in addition to being a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador, I was asked to talk about my Prince’s Trust experience and how I believe they’re support has helped me and the business develop. Whilst I was nervous in the lead up to giving the speech, (I detest public speaking), it’s something I believed HAD to be done and done well, as I really wanted those who are involved in Million Makers to understand the outstanding results they’ve achieved and how their commitment is appreciated by budding entrepreneurs like me. After all its money raised by them that enable the trust to fund start up businesses like Emi & Ben.

Just to give you some facts about how FANTASTIC this initiative is, Million Makers is a national competition challenging teams of employees, school pupils and university students to come together to raise £1 million for The Prince’s Trust and make a real difference to the lives of young people across the UK. Last night’s shindig was the Regional Final for London and the South East which saw 11 corporate teams compete as well as three university teams all take part. In its second year, Million Makers has raised so far just over £1 million (£1.1 million).

58 corporate teams have taken part this year across the UK from a variety of sectors including legal, public sector, financial and retail. Million Makers has raised nearly £600,000 in total nationally with around £125,000 raised for the London and South East Region. The Corporate Challenge tasks teams of aspiring entrepreneurs; from graduates to senior employees, to work together to turn £1,500 seed funding into a profit of £10,000 for The Prince’s Trust over the course of six months. Once established, teams pitch their business plan to a Dragons’ Den style panel in order to secure their seed funding. In the knowledge that they have a robust and water-tight plan, the teams then implement and promote their own mini enterprise. A host of teams from companies and organisations across the UK compete against each other to run the most profitable mini enterprise.

My fellow speaker was BBC’s Apprentice winner Tim Campbell, who is exceptional at keeping the guests geared up, motivated and inspired... a true professional; as a public speaker and entrepreneur. After my speech he took to the stage to present the awards to the runner’s up which included Royal Bank of Scotland (£17,926), Linklaters (£20,736) and winning team Yell who raised a phenomenal £82,000! A truly amazing effort by all...

Every time I think about last night I find myself smiling. I’m feeling truly privileged and blessed to have been in the company I was in. I made several exciting contacts which I hope will result in some fruitful business relationships. I also sold quite a bit of product which was an added bonus, as I didn’t really intend to ‘set up shop’ there – however the guests weren’t having any of that.

I really hope that other companies follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned companies in addition to Accenture, Capgemini, PKF, SAB Miller, RSA, Oracle and Mitsui and not forgetting London Metropolitan University and University of Kent. They should all really be proud of the amounts they raised.

To find out more about Million Makers and how your company can become involved, visit http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/support_us/million_makers.aspx