Tutudesk UK

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Tutudesk UK

Kyalami, South AfricaLondon, United Kingdom
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Tutudesk UK supports the South African organisation the Desmond Tutu 2015 Tutudesk Campaign Centre. The aim of the organisation is to provide portable school desks, Tutudesks, to children in Sub Saharan Africa where over 95 million school children don't have the benefit of a classroom desk. This affects handwriting, literacy and overall academic performance.

The Tutudesk product is an innovative solution that ensures a child has a writing surface whether they are sitting on a chair or the floor. We have a financial sustainable business model through corporate sponsorship and I am creating a new funding stream through UK retail.

To date over 1 million desks have been distributed. The Campaign's objective is to distribute a further 20 million desks to 20 million children by 2015.

About You
Tutudesk UK
About You
First Name


Last Name




About Your Organization
Organization Name

Tutudesk UK

Organization Country

, WSM, London

Country where this project is creating social impact

, GT, Kyalami

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Project description
What are your organization's top three priorities in the next year?

Tutudesk UK was established in 2012 and all the elements required to launch should be in place by the end of March. Our top 3 priorities are:
- Hold a launch event to raise the profile of the Tutudesk Campaign in the UK
- Raise a minimum of £2m through sponsorship contracts (funding mainly comes from sponsors who can print their logo on the desk as a way to engage with the local community)
- Launch the retail of Tutudesks via Amazon, and also begin retailing in a physical store in time for Christmas

Your project
Project Support
Need #1

Consumer/Audience Acquisition

Need #2

Opportunity Analysis

Based on your first choice of the eight technical categories you selected above, what is your specific project need? Please be specific!

The 1 million desks that have already been distributed by our South Africa office have mostly been funded through corporate sponsorship. A company has the opportunity to print their logo and educational content on the desk. This provides a unique opportunity to engage not only with the students and teachers, but also with the whole community. At the end of the day each child carries their Tutudesk home to do their homework on and, on average, 10,000 Tutudesks would be seen around 25 million times in the course of one year.

Tutudesk UK's goal for 2013 is to raise a minimum of £2m through sponsorship agreements. American Express employees could best support by creating a priority list of targets, developing a strategy for each target and identifying the best way to approach them. For example, Company X plans to launch their soap brand in Zambia. Sponsoring Tutudesks would advertise the brand within priority communities, the educational content on the Tutudesk could teach children about the importance of hand washing and the associated PR will raise the profile more broadly across the country and beyond as required. Send their head of Africa a Tutudesk and proposal.

What three characteristics or qualities do you prioritize in working relationships/partnerships?

For Tutudesk, my top priority is to ensure that the partner is appropriate for the brand e.g., no tobacco sponsors


Content expert - I want to work with partners who can share their expertise in a certain area


Shared values - I want to work with partners who are excited to work with Tutudesk and can see benefits in the opportunity

Will support from American Express be focused on your organization overall or a specific product/service? Please describe.

Tutudesk UK has three main areas of activity: sponsorship, retail of Tutudesks and charitable fundraising. The support from American Express would focus on sponsorship, however this is the most significant part of the business. The other two areas are brand new and the plan is to grow them slowly in the UK.

Have you focused on the above area previously? If so, please explain, including whether you have worked with outside consultants before.

As part of my work so far we have thought about the sectors that we should target for corporate sponsors and the different ways in which they can benefit from the opportunity. We have researched a few companies, however most of the conversations to date have developed from meeting key individuals at conferences. This research will be an opportunity to step back and prioritise our targets, rather than relying on who attends specific events. Tutudesk UK hasn't work with any outside consultants before.

Are you able to commit 3-5 hours/wk over 10-12 weeks?


Are you able to meet virtually or at a convenient in-person location?


Are you able to meet in the city where your organization is based?


Rank your three intended outcomes of this project:

Prioritised list of corporate sponsors


An understanding of how achievable the £2m target is and whether it should be revised either up or down


A relationship with American Express, which we could look to build on in the future

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

To date, our South African office has provided over 1 million Tutudesks to children across 24 countries in Sub Saharan Africa. A recent independent impact report surveyed 426 teachers, who have been responsible for 16,000 students that have been using Tutudesks for a minimum of 2 years. The research showed a wide range of benefits including improvements in both the speed and legibility of handwriting, better concentration and motivation and higher rates of homework completion.

Beyond the direct beneficiaries, many governments have expressed their support for the distribution of Tutudesks in their country. In addition, sponsors have also realised benefits e.g., Maq washing powder saw a 30% increase in sales from distributing Tutudesks in a particularly competitive market.

What is your project future impact after receiving professional support from American Express?

Tutudesk UK is at a start-up stage, just about to fully a launch its activities in the UK. Once we have secured our first few corporate sponsors we expect to expand the team and develop our other activities - retail and charitable fundraising. Support from American Express will help to fast track our work and ensure that we are on track to achieve our target of providing 20 million more Tutudesks to 20 million children by the end of 2015.