“IMEX Challenge”: Great deal of enthusiasm from Polish partners

Thursday, 01.04.2010
Jon Bradshaw, Business Development Director at IMEX Group explains the thinking behind the launch of the new IMEX Challenge and why the project in Poland is going to be so important – and so much fun – for those involved. What is the IMEX Challenge?It is a brand new CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative devised […]

Jon Bradshaw, Business Development Director at IMEX Group explains the thinking behind the launch of the new IMEX Challenge and why the project in Poland is going to be so important – and so much fun – for those involved.

What is the IMEX Challenge?
It is a brand new CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative devised and launched by the IMEX Group. It is intended to give meetings industry professionals the chance to work side by side in a physical challenge that will benefit a host community.
IMEX took the decision to launch an industry CSR event after much discussion with partners, organisations and industry peers.  Although individual companies and agencies currently run many community programmes for their clients, we wanted to create a regular event that brings the meetings and events industry together regularly with the specific aim of creating lasting change as well as a lasting legacy.
In much the same way that IMEX has taken a strong lead on improving environmental awareness and best ‘green’ practice in the industry, the IMEX Challenge will provide an important focus on community giving and employee engagement.

Why are you organising the Challenge?
We wanted to organise a humanitarian event where those involved would see the benefits from their participation immediately and where their main donation was time rather than money.

Where will it take place and who benefits?
The first Challenge will take place in Warsaw, Poland in mid September 2010. IMEX is working with OUR HOME – a Polish charity that supports foster families who look after orphaned and homeless children.  Established in 1991, the charity has become the most important organisations dealing with the problems of orphaned and neglected children in Poland.
As an emerging destination for meetings and events there was a great deal of enthusiasm from Polish partners to hold the first challenge there and combine a humanitarian project with a chance to showcase the excellent facilities it can offer our industry.

Why Poland and who is supporting you there?

The team in Poland simply had the most fantastic & positive attitude to the whole idea. Added to this  we knew we would be working with world class, experienced and respected industry partners.
Many readers will know Krzysztof Celuch from the Convention Bureau of Poland which is part of the Polish Tourist Organisation. Through Krzysztof we were able to join forces with the Warsaw Convention Bureau and found a project that we agreed fitted the aims of the Challenge itself.
Polish DMC Meeting Designers, headed up by familiar industry figure Maciek Ogieniewski, are the official DMC of the project. Maciek’s company is handling the variety of operational issues that the Challenge has thrown up including getting several hundred kilos of sand on site which the team then have to move!
In addition the Radisson Blu Hote,l Krakow are sponsoring a holiday for the family so that they have somewhere safe and comfortable to stay whilst the IMEX Challenge team works in their house.

What will team members have to do, and what will their legacy be?

The IMEX Challenge Poland team will be tasked with creating a safe and enjoyable area for the children who live with a fantastic foster family on the edge of Warsaw to play and relax in. This will require landscaping the whole area and supplying and fitting a range of play facilities. The Challenge will also aim to create funding for the ongoing upkeep of the garden and play area and the long-term educational development and care of the children who live with the foster family both today and in the coming years. The idea is to create a lasting legacy, not simply to go, do the required work and then leave. The full legacy will be a new 20sqm play area for the children; an improved garden; a new computer for the charity and a sizeable fund to finance English lessons and other education for two more years.

Who are the people giving time, raising money or both?

Due to incredible support of local sponsors already mentioned the operational costs of doing the event are relatively small. Therefore IMEX is asking companies to sponsor a member of their staff to join the Challenge team at a cost of EUR 2750.
Every cent of this money will go directly to the OUR HOME charity. Other than that, the Challenge just needs a team of 10 fit and able people who want to be part of what we expect to be a very special, memorable and, of course, worthwhile event.

How will the sponsors benefit?
IMEX are promoting the IMEX Challenge team members and their sponsors widely before, during and after the event. Each sponsor will become an official partner and be able to promote themselves as such within their own PR and marketing activities.

Are you planning any more challenges?

Yes, definitely. We plan to run a new IMEX Challenge every two years and are already keen to talk to other destinations for IMEX Challenge 2012.

Are you still looking for volunteers?
Absolutely! We currently have four places remaining and are keen to fill them so we can publish the full list of volunteers and their sponsors. All interested parties can contact me at any time, ideally by email Jon.bradshaw@imexexhibitions.com