Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Since the seventies, France has suffered from growing unemployment and chronic social exclusion. The sources of structural unemployment have evolved. At one time, it was focused on the end of big industries (steel, automobile) and a massive delocalization process that have caused regions in the North of France to be particularly affected. Increasingly, a growing and younger suburban ethnic minority is concerned. They belong to the new types of excluded populations that have emerged, from people over 50 out of jobs after the closing down of their factories to low-qualified and low-income families’ young descendents.
To help them re-integrate the labor market, job insertion enterprises have been created, largely subsidized by public funding. Although these enterprises fill a transitional period for those who do not fit the labor market’s requirements, they have never succeeded in gaining economic and social legitimacy. Indeed, among other explanations, most of them offer occupational activities instead of professional and qualifying jobs. They cannot rely on a profitable economic model and, on average, 50% to 80% of their budget comes from public funding. They are accused of “unfair competitiveness” by private players and only about a quarter of the beneficiaries are hired at the end of their insertion contract. In addition, the recent reform of public subsidies has highlighted the difficulty of job insertion enterprises to develop creative solutions to compensate a loss of public funding and keep responding to their social mission. Mostly small-sized, with fewer than 50 employees, and a local impact, these enterprises have shown little capacity to develop new resources and expand their programs, despite the growing needs.
The lack of bridges between citizen organizations, such as the job insertion companies, and the business world has kept rising along the years. Cultural gap, stereotypes and mistrust have always existed between these two worlds, with on the one side, capitalist private companies focused on short-term performance and on the other side, social organizations providing support for those who have been excluded by the market and dealing with the social consequences of excessive liberalism. Only a few players have been able to overcome this historic opposition, and most of the collaborations are linked to sponsorships and donations.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
By realizing that the future of the job insertion field will belong to those who can create partnerships based on industry knowledge leadership, André has invented, experimented and scaled an innovative model to co-create large-sized social ventures with the business sector. By systematizing a new type of alliances and bringing his Groupe “Vitamine T” to a critical size, he has enabled a growing number of unemployed people find their way back to the labor market but also demonstrated how hybrid value chains are efficient, impactful and sustainable solutions to address long-term unemployment in France. Enriching these social ventures with fast-growing ecological activities and cutting-edge technologies, such as electronic waste recycling, André has developed a successful template for the development of sustainable social enterprises.
To access new financial resources and increase the legitimacy of job insertion ventures, André attracts private companies based on their real business interests- recruitment, market penetration and CSR activities. He then offers the opportunity to invest in the co-creation of new social ventures that can produce both economic and social impact. To guarantee that the social mission comes first and ground the intention of the partnership, André implements key governance principles such as a maximum of 49% of the capital for private partners, no payment of capital and reinvestment of all the profits for a predetermined period of time.
With unprecedented financial and technical means to invest, innovate and scale, Vitamine T is a holding of co-led social ventures and forms the largest job insertion company in France, covering the needs of four regions in the north of France. Vitamine T has gained great recognition in France and has become an inspiring model. While spreading new businesses in Europe and China, André is now focusing on encouraging others players put the forces of citizen organizations and private companies together and create widespread impact.