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IFDS takes on the Million Makers Challenge

06 Oct

IFDS has a proud history of supporting community and charity groups, and the Prince’s Trust Million Makers Corporate Challenge is one example of the exciting work we’re doing to support others.

Billed as ‘Six months, £1,500 seed funding, £10,000 target’, the Challenge involves teams of companies from all over the UK competing to raise at least £10,000 for charity over a six-month period. We’ve participated in the event twice in the past with great success and couldn’t resist the opportunity to take part for a third time. So when the message came through in March that it was time to start thinking about this year’s challenge, it wasn’t hard to find six eager IFDS employees who wanted to get stuck in.

Jo Renshaw, Senior Revenue Associate at our Basildon office, said she felt compelled to take part in the challenge as it was a great opportunity to develop her entrepreneurial, business and leadership skills while supporting a great cause. She spoke to us about her work on the challenge so far.

What is the Million Makers Challenge?

Million Makers is ultimately aiming to raise £1 million to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people around the country. It also helps to develop business skills within employees who take part.

Over the course of the six-month event, teams go through a number of stages in their quest to become champions. These including planning, pitching and developing their ideas through to completion. Each corporate team starts with £1,500 seed funding and has a target of £10,000 or more raised for the Prince’s Trust.

The Totes Personal Journey

The IFDS team is made up of six people across three different locations - Basildon, Brentwood and Scotland. Million Makers is a way for IFDS team members to network with others in the business they may not otherwise work directly with.

Because of the specific skill set IFDS wanted participants to learn, the team was limited to creating a product or service to help raise their contribution (as opposed to fun runs and other events that some other organisations opt for). With that in mind, the team brainstormed a range of different ideas which were narrowed down to one final plan: tote bags. The UK has more than its fair share of ugly and environmentally unfriendly plastic bags floating around, so the IFDS Million Makers team wanted to counter this with stylish, reusable tote bags for consumers to carry with them wherever they go.

Naming themselves ‘Totes Personal’, the team was ready to start planning their product launch. The personal element of the bags comes from the variety of different slogans and letters that users can choose to have printed on their totes. The team has partnered with Kestrel Printing Ltd in Southend to produce the totes, supporting a local business while raising money for a brilliant cause.

Business benefits

IFDS supports the Prince’s Trust Million Makers Challenge as it’s not only a great way to support a brilliant charity, but it builds essential business skills that benefit the individuals who participate and the company as a whole. Team members learn vital planning, organisation and presentation skills that can benefit them throughout their career. There are also entrepreneurial elements to the challenge, which can provide a new skillset for employees. The Totes Personal team has even been to Fashion Week to showcase and sell the bags.

Totes Personal: Get yours

The Totes Personal debut range is now on the market in three different sizes. The ‘Fit Me’ bag is a sporty number complete with drawstrings, ‘Carry Me’ is a classic shopper bag and ‘Bite Me’ is the perfect size for your packed lunch. Along with the slogan designs are initial options, where you can choose to have a letter of the alphabet printed on your tote. Totes Personal can also offer corporate branding and more personalised options in large orders, making them brilliant Christmas gifts. And best of all, every single penny that is raised from the sale of the environmentally-friendly bags goes straight to the Prince’s Trust.

Want to know more? Take a look at the Totes Personal website and check the totes out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For more information on what it’s like working at IFDS, click here. If you’d like to order a bag, email
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