When implementing a project that makes sense for the planet and for others, how does it work?

“Effective entrepreneurship does not mean finding a business opportunity and turning it into a project that has a positive impact. The opposite must be done, by asking a question about the social and/or environmental problem we wish to respond to first.”identifies Eva Saadoun, founder of Lita.co, an influential investment platform.

For inspiration, consider the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (reducing inequality, getting decent jobs, combating climate change, etc.). You can then link your project to one or more of these SDGs.

start your project

Well, you’ve identified the challenge(s) that excite you, and you’re thinking of solutions… Now all that’s left is to turn your project into reality! Arm yourself with determination, recommends Emmanuelle Bomble, director of programs at anthropia, Essec’s social enterprise accelerator. Impact projects can sometimes take longer to develop, particularly because of the difficulty in obtaining funding and more restrictive standards than a “classic” company.

We may also wish to position ourselves from the start in a demanding and disciplined approach by seeking B-Corp certification or Esus approval. But you should know that this process requires time and energy. “In the beginning, it is sometimes better to prefer legal simplicity (SAS, Sasu, or even sole proprietorship), than to embark on very complicated things.”Emmanuel Bombel suggests.

Think about your business plan

In impact entrepreneurship, whatever case you choose, your business model should include what are called impact indicators. To help you out, you can draw inspiration from the methodology of Professor Thierry Sieboud and Mary Trillo-Kane, founders of the Essec Impact Chair, in their book A Social Enterprise (Too) Needs a Business Plan.

There you will find what we traditionally look for in a business plan, but with the impact section: the impact indicators we want to measure, the avoided outcomes and costs for the company, etc. “For us, the compass is how many meals are served”explains Jeanne Moreau, founder of Phénix, a startup that fights food waste.

In any case, do not ignore the action plan. “From the beginning, you have to work on a business model that ensures a balance between economic performance and social/environmental performance. It must be able to innovate for reform: for example, 1 euro is generated x cents from the positive impact generated”Nicholas Celler, co-founder of the Ring fund and mission of Ring, explains its impact investing tool.

to be accompanied

Surrounding yourself is essential! The world of Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS) is still relatively young and offers plenty of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, often with a collaborative mindset. Feel free to join the movements, the networks and of course the incubators.

> Logical : This social incubator, located in Paris, supports entrepreneurs for 4 weeks up to 1 year, depending on the programme. Impact startups like Too Good To go, RogerVoice, or Le Carillon have made their launch there thanks to dedicated support programmes.

> Ashoka This NGO works for social innovation and supports entrepreneurs around the world. It helps them develop their skills, and gives them access to network and visibility. Finally, it offers financial support for a maximum period of 3 years.

> Ticket to change For entrepreneurs, this structure offers a 6-month support program, on their own or in a team, to help project leaders launch their startups with a positive impact. Change Ticket, for example, backed the startup Yucca.

> Positive Planet The Jacques Attali Foundation tracks and trains social entrepreneurs in realizing their project thanks to individual coaching and group workshops on the basics of entrepreneurship. You have branches in five regions of France.

> Beehive : This incubator develops training programs and programs that support influential entrepreneurs and provides them with dedicated spaces where they can work and meet. With strong regional roots, it is found in all four of France (Paris, Rennes, Nantes, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille, Strasbourg, etc.).

> wilko : This accelerator accompanies startups in their early stages, up to the first million euros in their turnover. It is divided into several sectors, including Technology for Good and Clean Agricultural Technology/Technologies. It is useful for entrepreneurs who are launching more technical projects.

> the first This network has been developed in regions and abroad to support women entrepreneurs in particular.

> Inkobenov : is the incubator of Bond’innov, which supports responsible and impactful entrepreneurship in relation to emerging regions. The structure is at the heart of Seine-Saint-Denis and specifically supports Africa-related startups in their spread on the continent.

> live for good This association offers Entrepreneur for Good, a 9-month program that supports young people under the age of 30 in implementing their impact project. Coaching, one-on-one coaching and access to a network of experts and companies are provided.

> wweeddoo : This collaborative platform supports project leaders between the ages of 13 and 30, particularly when launching their crowdfunding campaign. It provides them with a set of resources (a group to lead a project, budget it, or create a custom website) and connects them with professionals to advise them.

Is formed

> Mooc Impact investing: the basics. A reference in ecosystem impact. Four weeks of courses dedicated to impactful projects: the history of the sector, entrepreneurs and investors in it, and financing methods. Cake icing: It’s free.

> training Ulule Impact on Entrepreneurship. Six weeks of online training (with one-to-one sessions) for those with a project to make the world more diverse, more sustainable, and more open, and who want to start an influential association or business. Price: 1,500 euros, can be funded by CPF, Pôle emploi or your employer.


> You can turn into Investors Clubs Like La Cigale, which invests in small businesses, cooperatives, and associations.

> platformsEquity crowdfunding : Lita.co, Tudigo, Miimosa (Agriculture/Food) or simply crowdfunding, such as Ulule or KissBankBank. These last two are useful especially if you are running BtoC solutions.

> subsidies (Agefiph, regions) and SSE loans (France is active, la Nef, etc.).

> venture capital funds : You have historical funds like Alter Equity or Citizen Capital, but also Inco, Investir+, Phitrust… on Seeds, XAnge, Earning Fund (Seed I) or even Ring Mission. Nicholas Celer, its founder, is interested in the business model and impact criteria. Then we pay attention to the intentions of the leaders. The goal is to understand their motivations and ensure that the search for meaning is of paramount importance to them. »

Mistakes should be avoided

> Not providing enough added value: “The company should not only provide 10% of the real key solutions. We should also remember to analyze all the negative impact. For example, a social startup that is not circular at all, which practices tax optimization or an entrepreneur who treats his employees poorly will have In the end, the negative impact is much greater.Nicolas Seiler continues.

> Sacrifice Too Much: Impactful projects, through their desire to “change the world,” engage the founders more on an emotional level with extra dedication. The boundaries with personal life are also more blurred. What creates the risk of burnout Emmanuel Bombel warns.

Don’t think about ‘business’ enough: Feel free to ‘hybrid’ your model so that you don’t rely solely on public funding. You also need to surround yourself with people who have business experience. “It is important that entrepreneurs feel no hindrance from this. You have to think big, there is no reason for projects to remain small. Although I hear it can sometimes be a contradiction to go along with very capitalistic schemes like venture capital financing. “explains Jeanne Moreau of Phoenix.

reading resources

> “42 Solutions to Improve the Impact of Tech Companies” from Project Galion

> “Best Practice Guide for French Tech Champions” from France Digitale

> The Friday Startup Resources is available on its website for tips on CSR strategy.

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