July 18th was one of those days I’ll never forget. It was one of those days that proves my mantra actually works. Thank you Gerry, Yvonne, Tom, Theo, Leigh, Tilana, the whole Dream Team,… thank you!
Mandela was in public service for 67 days. As you know, Nelson Mandela is our hero and we use one of his famous quotes to explain the power of Hercules Trophy: “Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” The Mandela Day campaign is calling on people around the world to commit 67 minutes of their time “to make an imprint and help change the world around them.”
The Herculix Foundation, powered by Hercules Trophy South Africa, donated sports gear to 6 underprivileged schools, donated 67.000 Rand to the good cause of the winning team, the Olympic athletes wrote inspirational quotes for the schools and inspired people that doing good can be fun! Imagine what we can do if we have between 500 and 700 teams like in Belgium!?! We hope to inspire all our fans all over the world to do the same.
How the hell did we end up here?
A few years ago I sent an SMS to Inge: “in 4 weeks we’re going on an economic mission to South Africa”. Her answer was a typical one: “owkay”. No questions asked. We share the same dream so no explanation needed.
On the flight to Johannesburg Inge told me: “Next is Dubai”. My answer was a typical one: “owkay” (and indeed it was…).
4 weeks later we had a meeting with Gerry Skerritt, one of the founders of The Dream Team in Johannesburg. It was our very first meeting in Johannesburg, initiated by Flanders Investment and Trade. We came out of that meeting and we immediately knew: these are the ones! During one week we checked out the main players on the market and our initial feeling was right.
We got to know the whole team over the years. What a team! One of the best I ever came across. Divers, passionate, positive, respectful, lots of fun, open, experienced, can do mentality… They didn’t go for Hercules Trophy unless everyone was convinced of the dream. It took some African Time though , but everybody became really passionate about Hercules Trophy. Because make no mistake: if not everyone believes in the dream and focuses on it, it won’t happen no matter what you want!
Ups – downs – hopes – setbacks – worldcup in between – small successes… we experienced all the things that always happen in startups but we never stopped believing.
And then something magical happened: Yvonne joined the team. She was the missing link to bring us the network. You can have a dream and a focused team, but without fans you are nowhere. Teams joined because she said they had to join. People trust her and did it for her. As Yvonne has a long history at Virgin Atlantic, she knew exactly what we are all about and she knew exactly how to get that message across.
The inaugural Hercules Trophy in South Africa was the best ever. Spot on. A massive success. No doubt in my mind that Africa is going to be huge in the years to come. Every single team was inspired and will be back next year with more teams. I’m 300% convinced they will spread the word. In fact, the first teams subscribed the day after!
So you see, going global is really easy