Social entreprises as a tool to fight poverty and exclusion worldwide

During the last KWS FORUM, we’ve invited Romain Buquet from Groupe SOS to share his opinion on how social enterprises can become powerful weapon to fight poverty and exclusion worldwide.

Romain Buquet groupe SOS Paris lors de la conference KWS
Romain Buquet groupe SOS Paris lors de la conference KWS

In his presentation, Romain presented several points:

1- Poverty, precariousness, and exclusion doesn’t concern only poor countries

European and north american countries also face numerous social problems which became more marked since the financial crisis of 2008 such as:

  • Access to education
  • Young people in difficulties
  • Addiction and drugs
  • Homeless

Those problems have several solutions in particular:

A- Welfare State

By creating various security services for those who are excluded from the system because of health insurance, unemployment insurance, as well as the pensions…Threatened by the debt crisis in Europe it’s necessary to find other solutions.

B- Social Entrepreneurship

It’s one of the solution that came up: it is organizations that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being. This can be achieved by selling products and services like “Water project” which solves problems of water accessibility  with philanthropy; another example the group Vitamine T in France, which makes the recycling of products such as mattresses or screens to resell in China. They are self-financed companies and they employ a lot of people among whom those excluded from the social system.

  Mister Buquet lifted the fact that the social entrepreneurship is a worldwide movement witch develops very quickly so between 2015 and 2020, this industry will represent approximately 500 billion dollars.

According to Romain Buquet Canada and France have assets to be asserted, because of their expertise that lean largely on voluntary and united sector. In Quebec there are actors as the construction site, in France the first milk cooperative was created at about the XIIIth Century; this prove that there is innovation for a long time to assert on the international scene. In canada and more precisely in Quebec, there is a global mobilisation of actors from various sectors: Greatest entrepreneurial families, public and semi public groups, work to develop the sector.

In france, SOS group which is the 1st social compagny and which employs 12 thousand people with about $750M USD, uses a self financing method. The company reaches a million of beneficiaries in the various sectors (youth, old people and disable people)

At the end, Romain Buquet strongly disparaged the lack of such social companies to accompany entrepreneurs. Actually, there are 2 things that overtighten entrepreneurs:       

  • Getting access to finance
  • Having expertise

As solution to this, SOS group has put in place

– An investment fund of 30M euros which accompanies entrepremeurs in their projects

– Creates incubators to help and train new entrepreneurs