Getting into the social and solidarity economy (SSE)

Would you like to contribute to the development of a more just and sustainable society? Do you have entrepreneurial aspirations? Get started in the social and solidarity economy (SSE)! In the lines that follow, we present to you the springs of the ESS and give you some keys to help you initiate your project.

ESS: presentation

If its principle escapes you, let us try to define it and discuss the main sectors on which it is based. The search for meaning, concern for the general interest, the future of the planet ... can all be at the center of people's concerns driven by the entrepreneurial spirit. Profiles able to register in the ESS, in the goal of reconciling the economy and the social, whatever the nature of the project. The ESS brings together private law, non-profit, or limited-profit companies whose actors want to respond to the multiple challenges we face: employment, education, ecology, etc.

In detail, this may be, for example, projects aimed at fight against energy poverty, eliminate over-indebtedness and promote the reuse of waste.

The sectors

In France, SSE represents a little more 6 jobs on 10 in the field of social action. It carries more than half of the jobs in sports and recreation (57% to be precise), and contributes significantly to financial and insurance activities with nearly one in three jobs in the field.

In the social and medico-social sectors, recruitment needs are diverse and varied. The structures concerned in particular need educators, nursing staff, social workers and professionals qualified in cleaning, catering or even maintenance. Social entrepreneurs are in fact part of the context of a aging country, because France will indeed face 700 retirements by 000: as many seniors who will need to be treated and replaced. Currently, there are approximately 2025 establishments employing 222 million workers, or 000% of total French salaried employment.

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social economy

The legal form

Defined by its practices and purpose, the ESS does not impose any particular legal structure. Foundation, cooperative, mutual, commercial utility, social… it's up to you to determine which one best suits your project. For information, it is the associations that hold the highest volume of solidarity employment (78% against 13% for cooperatives). There are both micro-enterprises and large organizations, social entrepreneurs with differentiated objectives, who exchange experiences, for example, through the Mouves network. The sector is elsewhere popular with independents who aspire to start a human activity while enjoying the benefits of self-entrepreneurship, widely listed on the platform

Ecology and SSE

Would you like to draw inspiration from concrete ecological initiatives already implemented by entrepreneurs? Studies and actions have identified a few: the Regional Energy and Climate Agency (AREC) and the Regional Directorate for the Environment and Energy (DRIEE) of Ile-de-France have published a report called “SSE actors driving innovation in the service of ecological transition.”

In this document, we find examples of practices identified in the Paris region that respond to environmental issues. We think first of all of the Aurore association, which is dedicated to cultivating social ties and solidarity through gardening activities, while the Au fil de l'eau association strives to bring citizens closer to their courses. water by organizing solidarity and ecological river activities.

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From eco-friendly to modes of cleaner moving

The way of working, producing and consuming are other dimensions on which SSE actors have a considerable impact. Also in Île-de-France, several structures stand out for their virtuous actions. These are first of all Halage, which makes employees aware of eco-gestures, and Wimoov, which mobilizes employment partners around a sustainable mobility project, the association La Bouilloire founded in 2000 which is illustrated by rationalizing the modes of travel and the travel time of employees… Not to mention IDEMU specializing in the training of social workers in the prevention of fuel poverty.

A project in the ESS? The practice

To make your project a success and become a player in SSE, here are the main steps to accomplish.

First you need to identify a need that you are able to answer : an innovation, a new organization or even by combining several skills. Like an elected official, you have every interest in attending neighborhood meetings, taking an interest in all local issues and participating in events that are popular with professionals. To determine an economic model that holds up, it is essential to first have a solid idea that is truly useful to citizens and to the planet.

Made an inventory of projects related to yours. These could be people who are preparing to launch their businesses and those who are already meeting the needs you have identified. It is up to you to consider to what extent you could become an added value to this type of project, and not one of its multiple substitutes.

Whether through an association or other form of business, you must necessarily register in a public utility approach. No false humility: assume your commitment and attract the spotlight as much as possible on your activity. From relatives to former co-workers to SSE stakeholders that you may have already approached, make noise and earn credibility by showing that your positioning complies with the principles of the green and solidarity economy.

A concrete business plan

Writing a convincing business plan is a sine qua non even in the community of solidarity. If your project is not primarily intended to generate profits, you must nevertheless build a solid folder which will also help to give you credibility with your interlocutors. It will help you in your search for funding and partnerships, as well as in your communication efforts.

At the end of this phase, you will be even more equipped to put your project forward. Keep in mind that your activity will participate in economic development, but above all societal and environmental. As such, it is particularly likely to be supported by political actors.


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