The last weekend of September 2018, Station F’s 34,000 square meters were the meeting spot of innovators, investors, journalists and people curious about startups’ positive impact. The former Freyssinet covered market hosted 500 innovative and concrete projects about the significant challenges of our times, such as climate change, plastic pollution, education, and sustainable cities. A Sparkshow, organized by Sparknews with BNP Paribas’ #ActforImpact program offered visitors to discover projects to act for a sustainable world. Six entrepreneurs have had 3 minutes each to trigger the interest of a panel of journalists, comfortably sit behind their buzzers.
A speech by Raphaele Leroy inaugurated the Sparkshow. Leroy is the head of enterprise engagement at BNP Paribas’ Banque de Détail for France. She put to the forth the Act for Impact program of the bank, that aims at making impactful entrepreneurs visible on the French territory. The entrepreneurs above help banks to revise their models profoundly.
The project leaders have had 6 journalists to convince as well as a 200-people-audience, the forum being open to the general public in the begin of saturday’s afternoon. The media represented were diverse. Interêt Général‘s Didier Meillerand, Sinatou Saka who writes for RFI and France24. Some may have recognized RCF‘s Patrick Lonchampt’s voice or Cyrielle Hariel from Yahoo Green / Ushuaïa TV (and formerly Europe 1). Spicee ‘s Paloma Moritz and Les Echos Start‘s Florent Vairet also represented online media.
The first presentation was quite dramatic. La Perrière’s Eric Brac spilled a whole bag of plastic bottles on the Main Hall’s stage. He aimed at depicting the paradox of plastic pollution. In spite of France spending 1 billion euros per year, the rate of plastic recycling increases by 3% only yearly. His solution? Yoyo, a system that provides users with a reward when they bring ready-to-recycle plastic bottle bags. In a year, the scoring system has succeeded in doubling the plastic recycling rate in a whole district of Lyon. This inspiring story has collected a handful of buzzs. A journalist asked if this model could work to recycling other materials.
Next on stage was Flora Thiébaut. A clinical psychologist, she started Auticonsult. Her company is the first counseling and IT services in France that recruits specifically consultants who have autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Auticonsult coaches autistic people in the workforce but also companies so that counseling mission evolves in the best conditions. Her clear presentation has won over three buzz. Three occasions to make this sensitive topic known.
From another perspective, Hortense Harang, a former journalist, has presented her company Les Fleurs d’Ici. Did you know that France imported 9 out of 10 flowers? Your Valentine’s day roses come from the Netherlands, Kenya, Ecuador or Colombia. They have an ecological cost. Fleurs d’Ici offers an alternative: local seasonal flowers. “We don’t know the seasonality of flowers anymore. People should know that roses for Valentine’s day are just as bad as strawberries in the winter.”
Another local solution: Rutabago food baskets. These ready-to-cook, 100% organic food baskets are delivered by refrigerated, eco-responsible trucks. Ingredients are also pre-dosed to avoid alimentary waste. Younes El Hajjami, Rutabago’s co-founder, thinks that “in 2018, eating healthy and eco-responsible foods shouldn’t be a problem”. Answering a journalist asking what the price is, Mr. El Hajjami answered: “lower than a fast food menu: 7€”.
In an entertaining mise-en-abyme, Moussa Camara has come to defend Déterminés, his project. This organization supports those who hardly access places like Station F, although they have an entrepreneurial fiber. The French living in peripheral neighborhoods. With over 100 members in 3 years, the founder has brought the strong message: “we had soccer champs who came out of our districts, it is time for unicorns. Then we will be able to speak of a real economical success straight from the slums”.
On a friendly note, Renaud Seligmann has presented a bar he manages with 175 other co-owners. This friendliness lab offers games to facilitate social bonding and gives back 50% of benefits to charities. A journalist was very moved by it as it proves solidarity does not depend on the size of structures. Social Bar wants to transform “friendliness carrier” in a real job.
The audience, like the panel of journalists, goes back home inspired by the multitude of faces the transitions towards a more sustainable world is taking. See you soon for our next entrepreneurial and responsible adventures!