leroymerlin.communities: The DIY Social Business to improve the living and housing conditions of inhabitants in precarious situation

Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

leroymerlin.communities is a space of co-creation open to all Leroy Merlin employees to innovate and participate in finding solutions to build a more dignified living environment for everyone. The skills and passion of the staff can help find solutions for insecure living conditions in a "no loss/no gain" model for sustainable development on a large scale. It is also a "joy creation space" in the company that makes sense.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The different forms of precariousness at the housing level do not allow people to have a dignified standard of living, whether they are homeowners, tenants of social housing or people waiting for this type of housing. The problem includes people's isolation, lack of DIY know-how to equip/rehabilitate homes, and the cost of access to certain products. The relationship between beneficiaries, social actors and private land is at the heart of the project.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Creating an incubator for social business projects within Leroy Merlin, allowing innovative partnerships with actors in the field. Tracks explored in this pilot phase are: - "DIY and rental maintenance" modules, in preparation to relocate people waiting for social housing, who are currently living in shelters. - The participation of the housing equipment solidarity bank to equip clean, but empty lodgings based on in-kind donations of overstocks. - Participation in Auto Accompanied Restoration projects with NGOs like "Companions builders"
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In three months, we were able to provide 200,000 products (the equivalent of 70 trucks) to the NGO 'Agence du don en nature' (in-kind donation agency) to redistribute them to 80 NGOs fighting against exclusion and poor housing. These products from excess and unsold stock allow first housing equipment for poor people and to create a solidarity materials platform for rehabilitation of housing NGOs. Before that, these overstocks ended at discount stores for a lower price. The feeling of pride of the warehouse employees to participate in a civic action to help the poor is great!

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

- Ultimately, we aim to support their equipment housing 200,000 people each year. - Regarding the rehabilitation of housing, we will participate in 15,000 projects each year within 5 years. - Training of 1,000 people housed in emergency structures to prepare them for re-housing.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Public Authorities, especially at local level, public housing offices, social housing institutions, NGOs: many actors coexist but rarely does their work combine the type of skills and passion present in the private sector. Innovation with stakeholders in the field is a fundamental condition for the success of the project. With these new alliances of various profiles, new and hybrids solutions will be found. A major challenge will be to overcome pre-existing power structures and defining responsibilities of each stakeholder. Detect points of convergence of a successful collaboration requires a mutual understanding, a shared vision and common goals and a clear framework for cooperation.


One of the key success factors is the involvement of a large number of players within the organization who support the partnership in an enthusiastic and committed way. Projects in different cities are created with the support of store managers and their teams. Supporting services at the headquarters are also solicited. Field visits are organized with senior management and the Presidency. With Companions builders we have a common participation in HEC Enterprise & Poverty Action Tank. We also have an exchange program for students who carry six months in an organization and six months in the other.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Leroy Merlin France
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

Not for profit association

Total Number of Full-Time Employees
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Organization Name

Leroy Merlin France

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


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Social Business Incubator



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Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, XX

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact
Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet, Last mile distribution: Entries in this category focus on solutions that enable the physical delivery of life-changing services to people with restricted mobility or restricted access (senior people, people with disability, remote or difficult areas, etc.), Inclusive supply chains: Entries in this category implement efficient, sustainable and inclusive supply chains, Other: If you feel that your entry does not fit any of the above categories, please suggest another category name..

What awards or honors has the project received?

Top 15 finalist of the inaugural League of Intrapreneurs Accenture/Ashoka in 2013

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Compagnons Bâtisseurs
-NGO, non profit
- "Auto Accompanied Restoration" is the singular known-how of the NGO "Companions builders"
- For Compagnons Bâtisseurs (CB) : enjoy the know-how and human resources Leroy Merlin in the transmission of gestures DIY, access to cheaper products, support for good buying,
- For Leroy Merlin (LM) : operate in areas where we are not present, enjoy the expertise of CB in supporting people in rehabilitation works, which puts people in a dynamic ownership of their housing

- Key contributions of LM : Training of beneficiaries, implementation of a tool-library, cost price materials, integration of passionate DIY customers to increase the numbers of volunteers
- Key contribution of CB : knowledge of the terrain and the local ecosystem, social support for people, mobilizing specific funding for social housing

- Agence du Don en Nature
- NGO, non profit
- Bridge of trust between the world of private companies and the NGOs, the association collects non-food new unsold products from manufacturers and distributes them to its network of 480 NGOs fighting against exclusion across France (including 80 NGOs in housing field)

- For ADN : expand its product portfolio to housing and home improvement, expand its network of partner NGOs to housing rehabilitation
- For LM : allow the first housing equipment to equip clean, but empty lodgings and create a solidarity materials platform for the rehabilitation of housing based on the provision of unsold and stock excess

- Key contributions of ADN : large logistical capacity, qualification and audit of the beneficiary NGOs network
- Key contributions of LM : home improvement products, logistics planning, volumes, network of NGOs partners working against poor housing

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Facilitate ownership in their homes through a low cost equipment through in-kind donation can benefit 50,000 people in the first year through the hundred association working against poor housing.

Auto Restoration Accompanied with a dozen social actors in different cities of France may allow the rehabilitation and beautification of nearly 1,000 housing full year.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Individuals, NGOs, Businesses, Regional government.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

The leroymerlin.communities resources available are varied and sustainable:
> Projects are at the heart of the business and as close as possible to the independent structures that are stores, 22,000 employees involvement is possible
> The supply of cost products in logic no loss / no profit; lower prices reduce the cost of rehabilitation for the NGOs
> In-kind products donations of overstocks (entitlement to a tax reduction) is a source of supply of solidarity platforms of building materials for the NGOs
> Skills-based sponsorship (including entitlement to tax reduction)
> DIY passionate customers volunteer "in projects research"

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The head of an NGO told a director of one of our stores in Marseille: "Our job is to get people to project dynamic in their homes and make it work." The parallel with our corporate mission: “Helping each inhabitant to dream of his future home and to fulfill his dreams" was obvious!

A woman from the northern districts of the city, which had benefited from a Auto Accompanied Rehabilitation project, said after a visit to her: "Since the improvement works with 'Companions builders', I became a fan of DIY!"

These meetings in the field, from the experiences of people, are founding moments that make you want to work together - NGO and Private Corporation - to reach new partnership to seek new solutions to the people in a precarious situation.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

The most difficult to overcome in this project barriers are mental barriers, the change in mentality that requires. Indeed, the change of mindset is the first step to overcome the traditional conceptions of the interaction between the economic and the social and to go beyond the conventional CSR policies

To promote the understanding of the social impact research at the heart of the company's business in a logic "no loss / no profit" has to "proved" by experiences which validate the model and expected benefits.

On the operational plan, the lack of time of the store's team for this new kind of mission is sometimes the main reason of the slow development of the projects.

The meeting of two cultures - NGO and Private Company - that do not usually work together also requires taking the time to build a common language

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

With "Companions builders," we have not contracted the relationship between our organizations in this experimental phase. Collaborations on training or access to products are a common agreement locally.

With "Agence du don en nature", we have an "In-kind donations agreement"

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

On one hand, Leroy Merlin learns a lot in the confrontation with the realities of people who are not customers of our stores. Change the way we look at in our profession accelerates the renewal of our conventional strategies. These 'make sense' projects have also an important virtue in the joy and energy they release in employees.

For NGOs, often very taken by their daily work, collaboration with Leroy Merlin offers new perspectives and contributions of human resources with specific expertise. Find solutions to change scale and do "more with less" is a consequence of this collaboration.

We learn a lot from each other.

How did you find out about this competition?

By Ashoka network (newsletter, email, twitter)

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