Founder of Lulu Dans Ma Rue and Emmaüs Défi
I have been participating in the work of the Societe Generale Foundation for several years and I appreciate the way in which this company commits to integration issues: on a continual basis and over the long term, by investing significant resources, by supporting projects that try to tackle the causes of exclusion and build new models, with a part of social innovation which is very important to me.
In my experience as a social entrepreneur, I was able to measure the positive impacts of this support when we created Emmaüs Défi: thanks to the foundation, we were able to pay to build and equip a giant junkyard covering 5,000 m2 in Paris, which now hosts 200 Emmaüs Défi employees, 150 of whom are people who were previously homeless or in very great difficulty. I was also able to appreciate the support of Societe Generale ‒ as a socially responsible investor, this time ‒ when I later created the Lulu job placement company in my street, on the principle of neighbourhood concierge services that connect workers who have specific skills with Parisians in search of daily services.
With the same perspective as a social entrepreneur, I am very interested in the rapprochement at the new foundation between social integration through work and musical patronage. The two are complementary, there is a real coherence in bringing them together to work toward a more inclusive society. If work and training are by definition oriented towards productivity, and music towards a form of open expression, free of charge, they are all, in different forms, tools for rebuilding oneself. When we welcome people who are excluded from society at Emmaüs Défi or Lulu Dans Ma Rue, we work with them a lot on the issues of “what is my value” and “how I define myself”. Each of us has value because we each have skills, know how to do things, can work and can be of service to others. Music can be another way of redefining yourself around something you know how to do, by giving pleasure to others and by pleasing yourself.
Likewise, the notions of excellence and high standards, which are very strong in music and the musical patronage of Societe Generale, are a source of inspiration in my work on integration. My experience has shown me that just because people are in situations of great social difficulty does not mean they are not capable of excellence. That message is found right there in the very name of the new foundation. “The Future is You” means “I believe in you”, and it is a superb message of hope!
I am very interested in the rapprochement at the new foundation between social integration through work and musical patronage. The two are complementary, there is a real coherence in bringing them together to work toward a more inclusive society. They are all, in different forms, tools for rebuilding oneself.