Ouishare Foundation: promoting and supporting local social innovation
In contrast, Station F, the world’s biggest startup campus, has hosted more than 1,000 startups in Paris since its opening in 2017, and the selection board made up of 100 entrepreneurs raised close to $5 billion.
One explanation for such a gap is that social innovation projects are highly dependent on the soil on which they grow. More than other companies, they are regional actors that respond to the cultural, social and economic challenges of their specific environment, which makes scaling up more subtle. So how can we promote the development of these local and atypical initiatives? This is the challenge that the Ouishare Foundation aims to tackle. On the one hand, each of our campaigns is an opportunity to enable
meetings between the project's leaders so that they can discuss common issues. On the other hand, the endowment fund acts as an intermediary between regional dispersed projects and major sponsors striving for a strong and measurable local impact.
The missing link between existing financial structures and emerging projects
We discover projects, halfway between social, territorial and cultural innovation, that don’t appear on the radars of the structures able to support them. With the Ouishare Foundation, we want to connect these two worlds previously lacking spaces to meet and interact. We act as guarantors of a framework that allows social initiatives to move forward with confidence while ensuring their independence, and funders to be close to the projects they support.
The endowment fund: a lever for structuring ecosystems
We have chosen to create thematic campaigns with the purpose to create synergies between entrepreneurs and patrons mobilized on similar issues, but also to provide key moments that promote mutual learning and allow the development of connected local ecosystems.
For patrons, these campaigns foster cooperation through engagement on common topics. This is the logic of the "collective impact" developed in 2011 by the Stanford Social Innovation Review which aims to promote a common agenda and coordinate efforts to find sustainable solutions for large-scale social problems. Beyond the purely financial aspect, these campaigns are therefore a way to integrate an ecosystem, composed of various project leaders and peers working to find common solutions.
The first campaign - Refuges (shelters), focuses on fostering the emergence of three “safe spaces”, by funding and connecting them. We chose these spaces for their exemplarity, their potential for inspiration and their network coordination:
· R.E.R: winner of the 2015 Gare Partagée Challenge, this is a place of food and exchange in Sarcelles train station allowing women to reintegrate themselves through cooking and helping to connect with others.
· Social Bar: This "laboratory for conviviality" managed by 175 co-owners aims to reduce the social distance between individuals in a lively and conceptual bar. We want to create a Social Bar Mobile to leverage its impact outside of its existing walls.
· Happy Lab: This residency network provides a framework of well-being and resources for changemakers. We want to sustain the pilot project in Bern carried out by the collective Amanitas before expanding the network in the world.
By choosing to become a patron of the Refuges campaign or any of these projects, you take part in reflections on the development of these hybrid places that transform our relationship to work, influence the economic dynamics of territories, promote the creation of commons and accelerate the ecological transition.
Networking rather than scaling
We commit ourselves to accompany the funded projects with systematic documentation of activities and best practices in order to allow future initiatives to leverage these learnings and to shorten the implementation cycle. To validate the relevance of the applied methodology, we rely on our experience from documenting projects such as the Ouishare Fest, our flag bearer event (with the Ouishare Fest Toolkit). This approach has allowed our communities in Barcelona, Rio and more recently in Cairo, to carry out events in a similar formats yet highly adapted to their audience and territory.
To conclude, we would like to invite our financial partners to support innovative projects that have the potential to create a lasting impact on local communities. We together create a template for investing in social innovation, so that others can then seize it and replicate it by adapting it to local contexts.
For more information on the "Refuges" campaign and ways to get involved, visit our Ouishare Foundation website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org