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Solving the challenges of social entrepreneurs through collective intelligence


Encouraging and promoting alternative solutions to reduce, reuse and recycle waste is the goal of Future of Waste, a programme set up in 2014 by SUEZ and MakeSense. Through a series of events and workshops, Future of Waste aims to bring together an active community to highlight and support new business models developed by social entrepreneurs and thus accelerate the transition towards circular economies based on solidarity. Among the tools proposed by Future of Waste, hold-ups are creativity workshops in which volunteers help social entrepreneurs to resolve the challenges they face.

Here we focus on five hold-ups organised this summer by Future of Waste with SUEZ employees.

Credit : ©Ondine32 Thinkstock

“Waste collectors”: innovating on the ground to create new ways of collecting waste

How can we avoid producing waste? How can we give it a second life? How can we encourage materials recycling? These three issues are at the heart of Future of Waste. To provide concrete responses, Future of Waste organises mobilisation programmes twice a year targeted at key problems. The “Waste Collectors” themed programme launched in 2016 is concerned with optimising waste collection and the companies innovating in this field.

This summer, five of the programme’s member companies and associations received support from SUEZ employees through workshops organised within the company:
L’Atelier d’Éco Solidaire: a Bordeaux association that creatively transforms the bulk waste it collects into furniture, lighting etc.
La Nouvelle Mine: 450m2 dedicated to creativity and sustainable development near Marseille. This association recovers waste, turning it into works of art and design (furniture, decorative items, participatory spaces development, public workshops, internship, team-building…)
La Tricyclerie : an organisation that collects and recovers organic waste from professionnals in Nantes… by bike
Marron Rouge: a company in the social and solidarity-based economy organising waste recovery pathways in India and France to create furniture and fashion accessories
The Amazing Waste Project, which rewards residents that sort garbage

Creativity workshops, shared expertise

To give their entrepreneurial adventure a long-term future and optimise their operation, the managers of these five organisations are confronted with a multitude of challenges: how can they secure economic outlets for their recovered materials? How can they successfully run a participatory funding campaign? Which business model will ensure a long-term future?

In five French cities (Bordeaux, Nantes, Suresnes, Marseille and Lyon), SUEZ employees took part in these hold-ups to help the five social entrepreneurs face these challenges. Special opportunities for discussion to build concrete solutions together for two hours.

For Pierre Manchot, project manager of the Amazing Waste Project, “The employees played their part to the full, putting their skills to work on behalf of the project and contributing fresh ideas about the system.” Jean-Marc Attia, founder and designer at Marron Rouge, adds: “The MakeSense experience is innovative because it overturns clichés and opens up new horizons. The working session with the SUEZ employees highlighted several solutions I had never thought of.” As a result of his participation in Future Of Waste’s creative workshop, Jean-Marc Attia launched a crowdfunding campaign.

With their dynamic format, the encounters confront the experience of employees at major groups with that of early-stage entrepreneurs, putting collective intelligence at the service of concrete innovative projects. For the participants, they constitute a unique opportunity to benefit from additional expertise and open up to new operating methods.

Here you can find out about forthcoming hold-ups organised by Future of Waste.

More information about Future of Waste.

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