The Million Makers competition is celebrating its tenth anniversary, so we decided to catch up with Adrian Gregory, UK&I CEO from Atos who have participated since 2011 and raised a phenomenal £856,000 to date.

The Million Makers entrepreneurial competition is now taking 2018 sign ups. 

A group of people

How did you first get involved with Million Makers?

Back in 2011 Atos had become a corporate partner of The Prince’s Trust and we were looking for ways to support. We recruited a team of our graduates to enter and at the time I was a senior mentor for the team. That year’s team came up with a brilliant idea which went onto win the competition. I have been involved each year since and am now the exec sponsor.

What are the biggest benefits for Atos in taking part in the competition?

First thing is of course raising funds for a brilliant cause and truly changing young lives! 

The competition provides a great learning and development opportunity. It is a practical and safe way to teach business skills which isn’t just theoretical. The team deal with real money and have to focus. They also get access to our executive team and many have gone on to get promoted afterwards. We use Million Makers to develop team work, opening it up to graduates and apprentices, as well as our emerging talent. Having a blended team provides a real life working scenario.

Taking part in Million Makers brought us closer to the work of The Trust and led to Atos hosting our first ever Get Into employability programme to help find the next generation of the work force.

Are there any challenges in taking part in Million Makers and how do you deal with them?

Million Makers challenge individuals to be committed and focused. We carve some time out for the team use for the competition and ensure they have the support from our executive team. The secret isn’t about the volume of activities but making sure to do a few, really well.

From an exec sponsor perspective it can be a challenge to not get too involved. It’s a development opportunity so we aim to provide guidance but let them find the answers.

Can you tell us about an initiative that a Million Makers team has done which has impressed you most?

We’ve seen teams each year, develop ideas that have now created an ongoing legacy. The first ever Million Makers team came up with the idea of a supplier facing fundraising event which has now become part of our annual calendar. The team raise a lot of money for The Trust and it is a fantastic business event too. This year the team are running a staff vote to see who will do a bungee jump between my CFO and me.

How do you personally support your Million Makers teams at Atos?

I make sure that Million Makers is viewed as something important in our UK&I business. The team share an update once a month at our board meeting and each activity they do has an exec sponsor. I also make myself available to the team if they have questions, and the team communicate regularly with other parts of the business that may be able to support them such as our comms and procurement teams.

What would you say to another company considering entering their own team?

Million Makers is unique in what it offers. Rather than raising funds through one specific activity it captures the imagination of your employees and allows them to shape the ideas and projects. As well as raising funds it has lots of added benefits such as talent management, staff learning and development, promoting our brand and building our company culture.

Any final comments?

Sign up to enter a team for the 10th anniversary, it’ll be the best decision you’ve made this year!