Classical company / enterprise of the social and solidarity economy:
what are the differences?
For Chloé Bellue, head of the social entrepreneurship program at Avise *, “an ESS company must have a social and / or environmental utility. Cooperative organic products, fair trade shop, solidarity bank, insertion restaurant … Whatever your idea, ask yourself this question: does my project respond to a need of society? If the answer is yes, welcome to the social and solidarity economy! “
“In a company of the social and solidarity economy , adds Julien Bottriaux, head of public relations at L’Atelier, decisions are made with all the people associated with the project. The profit does not go to shareholders, but it is reinvested in the company or distributed to employees. “
Can an ESS company make money?
“In an ESS company, big and beautiful ideas are not enough! warns Julien Bottriaux. The business must be profitable, so make money. The sources of income are very diverse. You have to be clever at finding money both through the sale of products or services, through grants, or through private funds. “
For Chloé Bellue, “a social entrepreneur wants to make money, just like any entrepreneur. But money is a means, not an end in itself. To have a solid project that interests funders, the idea must be economically viable and socially relevant. “
How to give yourself every chance of success?
Create your business with others and bet on the complementary skills!
Make sure there is a real social or environmental need in the city or region where you want to operate.
Check that your idea does not already exist . These partially subsidized companies must rely on complementarity of activity, and not on competition.
Get help. Many structures exist: incubators, nurseries, regional chambers of the ESS, incubators … They know the sector well and will help you to turn to the right contacts according to your project. They can also sometimes accompany you in the definition of the business plan.
Meet the federations of the sector according to the theme of your project : organic agriculture, disability, housing, fair trade, early childhood … Federations can be a rich source of information.
Enter a cooperative activity and employment. A CAE brings together social entrepreneurs from different backgrounds. They are employees of the cooperative, which also supports the administrative aspect and offers them support. A good way to test the viability of the project while minimizing the risks!
Do you know Say Yess? An online media published by the AVISE whose objective is to raise the 16-30 years to social and solidarity economy while encouraging them to act in their daily lives. A section dedicated to jobs but also to employment in the ESS advises you to work in the ESS:
And if we have desires but no ideas?
“The younger generation is searching for meaning, but ideas do not always come alone! explains Élodie Bensoussan, coordinator of the jeun’ESS program in Avise. Depending on the subject that interests them (fair trade, organic farming, poverty, disability, renewable energy, housing …), I would advise young people to take inspiration from existing initiatives, to meet social entrepreneurs, to become volunteers, go to conferences, read the press and specialized literature to identify gaps and needs in their city or region. If the need is detected, the idea will come gradually. ”
* L’Avise, a resource and engineering center for the social and solidarity economy, offers tools to undertake other initiatives and promote the initiatives of SSE carried out by young people.
How to get help?
If you are in Ile-de-France, come and talk about your idea with L’Atelier’s project managers . The advisors will help you to mark your project and will indicate the structures that can accompany you.
In the regions, the Cress (Regional Chamber of Social and Solidarity Economy) supports and supports projects.