PULSE and Mouvement Impact France committed for a more social and inclusive entrepreneurship

GROUPE SOS, through its impact entrepreneurship support organization PULSE, and Mouvement Impact France launched a national action plan for a more social and inclusive entrepreneurship 

This action plan, financed by Google.org, the philanthropic subdivision of Google, aims at making entrepreneurship support programs more accessible, at promoting entrepreneurship as a lever for professional integration and at increasing the impact of social enterprises that help reduce inequalities. It will be deployed for two years throughout France by PULSE and Mouvement Impact France a network of social and ecological impact enterprises.  

Entrepreneurship to reduce inequalities: a two-part action plan by PULSE (Groupe SOS) and the Impact France Movement. While Mouvement Impact France’s project focuses on scaling-up inclusive social enterprises, PULSE’s mission is to mobilise the actors of this ecosystem in favour of greater access to entrepreneurship.

Mobilising ecosystem actors in favour of accessibility to entrepreneurship, a project carried out by PULSE 

With several years of experience in making entrepreneurial support accessible to as many people as possible, PULSE is deploying a project that intends to increase the representation of three specific audiences in the French social entrepreneurship ecosystem: 

  • Women, especially those from low-income backgrounds
  • refugees
  • job seekers, especially those interested in professional retraining

The project will help incubators and support structures in their inclusion policy and will equip socio-professional integration actors so that they can better guide their beneficiaries towards relevant support programs. This project is starting in February 2022 and will be divided into three phases :  

  • Mobilisation and study: PULSE will set up and coordinate multi-stakeholder working groups (incubators, integration professionals, beneficiaries, institutional partners, experts) in order to produce recommendations and methodological kits for support and socio-professional integration structures.
  • Pilot: PULSE, together with other partners who took part in the working groups, will test the recommendations resulting from the study phase within their activities (support programs, awareness-raising workshops, training for professionals, etc.). This pilot phase will take place in the Seine-Saint-Denis region (93).
  • Dissemination: During this last phase, and following the feedback from the pilot phase, the recommendations and methodological kits will be adjusted and deployed on a large scale within the national ecosystem, in an open-source logic, through work feedback sessions and reinforced training for territorial actors. 


pictures copyrights : #ellesensemble & #tempo PULSE Montreuil

Ateliere Fara Frontiere : a key actor of social economy through work integration in Romania


Ateliere Fără Frontiere (Workshops without Borders) is a non-profit association for the social, professional and civic integration of vulnerable, excluded and marginalised people. It is a key actor of social economy in Romania since its activities are based on the principle of solidarity and social utility. It particularly implements work integration programs linked to the circular economy such as the following Alstom Foundation-funded project described below. 


Mentoring and professional accompaniment in partnership with the business sector – a successful socio-professional insertion project 

Eight vulnerable people now have a job and a future in the conventional labour market, and 29 have a CV with work experience and interaction with employers. This was made possible by the RE-insert program run by Ateliere Fără Frontiere with the support of several companies and foundations, including the Alstom Foundation. 


The collaboration between companies and social insertion enterprises is vital for the Romanian market to activate people who do not have a job. The reasons are a combination of multiple difficulties : long-term unemployment, addictions, disabilities, dropping out of school, domestic violence, human trafficking, probation, custodial sentences, homelessness.   



« The process of integration into the conventional labour market of a person with multiple vulnerabilities is a difficult one and it requires time and sustained effort from the person in the insertion, but also from the teams that deal with it – social worker, lawyer, psychologist, team leader, job coach – which requires human resources and ultimately financial. At Ateliere Fără Frontiere we believe that everyone has the right to a second chance and that is why every effort is worth making. Alstom Romania colleagues offered something very important – contact with real life – in the process of self-assessment, creating expectations for our colleagues in the insertion « , says Damien Thiery, general manager of Ateliere Făra Frontiere.


During the project, there were six visits to Alstom Romania (sustainable railway transports company) and six online mentoring sessions, during which employees, supervisors and representatives of the company’s board showed vulnerable people what a day’s work means, what are the activities within the workplaces, what employment involves within the company. 

”As a child of a mechanic, I was impressed by my visit to the Alstom depot and found out that I would like a qualification course in this field. After admission, I want to work for a company like Alstom” – says DP, 19, an insertion employee at Ateliere Fără Frontiere. 


Collaborating with the Alstom Foundation

Established in 2007, the Alstom Foundation supports and funds projects proposed by Alstom employees who team up with local NGO partners and not-for-profit organizations to carry out initiatives aimed at improving living conditions in communities located near the Group’s facilities and project sites around the world. The Foundation’s projects focus on four axes: Mobility, Environmental Protection, Energy & Water, and Socio-Economic Development.  

“Alstom Foundation has successfully completed more than 180 projects to date worldwide. Such projects, like the one we supported in Romania, truly make a difference in the life of disadvantaged categories. Developed by Ateliere fara Frontiere, a long-standing Romanian Non-Profit association, the project REinsert  fights exclusion, marginalization or discrimination, by fostering employability through a mentorship and job shadow program to reduce the risk of severe poverty which threatens 31% of the total Romanian population. Alstom Foundation as well as the colleagues at Alstom in the country supporting the project have been very proud to be a part of it” – says Anne-Cecile Barbier, Secretary General of the Alstom Foundation.

The impact of these actions reflects new opportunities and ways of working to increase the integration of vulnerable people into the labour market. Currently, the inactivity rate in Romania remains high, 31.6% (2019) of the total population and social insertion enterprises are one of the few real solutions to reduce it. 

Green Report, a Romanian environmental magazine, rewarded their social activities earlier in January by granting them two prizes of excellence in circular economy and in Agri-food for their educlick platform and bio-co social farm. 

Zoom on : Rachid Abidi Director of Tunis’ incubator for entrepreneurs « Lab’ess »

Lab’ess – which means « Everything is going well » in Tunisian – was created in 2012 just after the Tunisian revolution. It is an association under Tunisian law associated with PULSE, an international organization part of GROUPE SOS supporting impact entrepreneurship. The area of intervention focuses on the Maghreb and the Middle East with 75% of the actions in Tunisia. 

To highlight the activities of the Lab’ess and know more about its commitment to foster social entrepreneurship in Tunisia, we got a special time to interview its director Rachid Abidi :

  • Can you describe your position and your work at Lab’ess? 


Our mission is to support the associative movement of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) and to support social entrepreneurship as a lever for inclusive and sustainable solidarity development. Our core business is to raise awareness, accompany and finance the actors of change while advocating to facilitate and improve the structuring of the SSE sector in Tunisia. 


I have been the legal representative of PULSE in Tunisia and therefore the Director of Lab’ess in Tunis for the past 5 years, an organisation that brings together a team of 20 very committed people. My work can be broken down into five main tasks: I lead a team of operational managers with the deputy director, I monitor the financial and HR aspects with the administrative and financial manager, I ensure the sustainability of the structure by seeking funds to support our strategic plan, I develop the Lab’ess brand by promoting its activities and I represent Lab’ess with major partners. 



  • What are your personal motivations for doing this work? 


I am lucky to be in a profession where we can invent solutions every day to alleviate social and economic problems. What we are proposing today has a real impact on Tunisian men and women who wish to start businesses, as well as an environmental impact, and being able to combine the two is very interesting and stimulating. What we do as a team on a daily basis is meaningful and useful for the local communities. It is also personally satisfying to see Lab’ess grow and flourish. 

Since 2012 we have worked with more than 80 social entrepreneurs and supported more than 2000 associations. Our incubation programme for entrepreneurs lasts about 6 months and provides networking, coaching and loan financing. One of our support programmes concerns Tunisian associations in neighbourhoods being renovated and rehabilitated: we help them to set up innovative and sustainable urban projects in collaboration with municipalities and citizens in order to respond to real local needs. One of our main objectives is to be at the service of the actors in the long term and not in a one-off way. 


  • According to you, how important is social entrepreneurship in the necessary transition towards a more just and inclusive economy? 


In my opinion, social entrepreneurship is a solution that brings together different worlds. It is an action model that combines both the general interest and good economic practices by involving many stakeholders. It is a solution that creates intelligent cooperation, makes a positive contribution to society (particularly employment for the most vulnerable) and responds to major environmental issues where the state or the private sector have no answer. Collaborative work with the people concerned, who are aware of the local problems, is necessary to find truly adapted solutions. 

The fact that money is not the driving force can sometimes make it difficult to understand the social entrepreneurship approach, but the commitment remains very strong among social entrepreneurs.  Unfortunately, this is not the dominant model yet, so we have to fight even harder to defend our ideas. Even if we are seeing a progressive development of impact investors worldwide, it is not really the case in Tunisia. We have to teach our tunisian entrepreneurs how to adapt their discourse in order to be able to take on their project and convince classic financing organisations, which is an additional obstacle. This is why we have been developing an honour loan scheme for entrepreneurs since 2021. 


  • What do you expect from the national and international trend in favour of the development of social entrepreneurship?  


At the end of the first lockdown in 2020, we contributed to the formation of an informal solidarity collective « Tounessolidaire » which gathered more than 150 signatories for a tribune that was sent to the tunisian President of the Republic, President of the Government and President of the Assembly of People’s Representatives. The aim was to notify them that the SSE actors who contributed to allievating the difficulties of the pandemic were not recognised enough and to relaunch the study of the SSE draft law. After that, everything went a bit faster, the deputies in the Assembly voted the text of the law in plenary in June 2020 and then the law was promulgated by the President of the Republic in July 2020. But nothing has really moved since then, we are waiting for the introduction of the decrees and orders, without which we have few means to establish the framework for structuring the SSE sector. We need the process of adopting the decrees to be accelerated, as there is talk of a label that would grant aid, benefits and incentives.

There are still a lot of things to be put in place to structure the SSE sector: a SSE agency and a Higher Council of SSE. And we as actors need to regroup and organise ourselves as a representative body in order to be credible and bring united claims to the state. We need to create a taskforce that would allow better coordination of the different stakeholders to reflect on the vision and strategy of the SSE in the medium and long term in Tunisia. We, the support structures, also need more support because our economic models are fragile. We get our funding directly from international cooperation and private donors, no funds come from the state or Tunisian authorities. We want to diversify the origin of our resources for greater sustainability and reliability. 

Today, belonging to PULSE is an opportunity because we benefit from the GROUPE’s experience, tools, methods, financial support if necessary, consistent communication and support for our development. This is an important support that complements the know-how and dynamics of the local team.