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#VivaTech : A chance for every young person

France is home to 3.2 million students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who have less chance of success then others in the country. For this reason, “a chance for every young person” became a major national cause last year. It is supported by Make.org(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab) and its partners, including BNP Paribas. During a talk at VivaTech(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab) on May 19, 2019, all the stakeholders involved announced an action plan for the next three years.

A chance for every young person—a major national cause

In France, 22% of people under 25 are unemployed and in a precarious financial position. The education system and a lack of diversity have generated exclusion and inequality. Therefore, we need to create the resources that will allow young people to reach their potential through culture, art, sports and professional guidance. The goal is to kickstart social mobility, promote inclusion, and facilitate autonomy and personal fulfilment. For this reason, BNP Paribas, Google, Accor and numerous non-profits have teamed up, through an initiative led by Make.org(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab), to “give a chance to every young person”. 

What is a “major cause”?

A major cause begins with a broad consultation phase among 500,000 French citizens, organized around a simple and engaging question. Based on the most popular suggestions, a series of concrete actions is then carried out over a period of three years with the support of businesses, the media and non-profit partners. 

During VivaTech 2018, more than 100 non-profits, businesses, startups, media partners and visitors translated the top suggestions into action plans. During the Youth Conference held by the French Red Cross in June 2018, between 1,000 and 2,000 young people continued to build on this work. On Saturday, May 19, Make.org, with the founding partners of this major cause, announced the actions that it would carry out over the next three years in order to give each young person a chance to succeed.

“ I got involved very early on. I created my non-profit in the same year that I started my business. For me, succeeding means succeeding together. In the neighborhoods where I grew up, there is a lot of energy and entrepreneurial spirit, but many people are disconnected from the economic ecosystem. Starting out, I wasn’t afraid of failure, because I had nothing to lose.  ”

Moussa Camara 

President of the non-profit Les Déterminés, a first-of-its-kind program, offering free support to entrepreneurs

Eight actions in three years for a national impact

Civil society’s action plan to achieve the objectives of this major cause must allow each young person to reveal their potential, provide support through the most difficult moments, develop ties between young people from different backgrounds and, finally, incentivize young people to get involved in society

The plan comprises 8 actions: 

  1. Guidance for All: support and guidance for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through the Impala solution, which has already been successfully rolled out at many schools and learning institutions.

  2. Public Speaking: training in public speaking with CoorpAcademy ;

  3. Mentor express : mentoring sessions for young people led by employees from major corporations ;

  4. Alternatives for “Dropouts”: in order to identify and reintegrate young people who leave the school system, with the Ecole de la deuxième chance (“School of Second Chances”), a non-profit supported by corporate groups like BNP Paribas and small businesses, notably those created by former “dropouts” like Ali Sidhoum, founder of Trust IT ;

  5. Coaching parents : providing support to parents with Inter Service Parents ; 

  6. Twinning: a video solution enabling several classrooms to participate remotely in common classes ;

  7. Civil Service Boost: to expand civil service as a vector of diversity and inclusion ; 

  8. Passport to Engagement: this initiative is led by  France Bénévolat and supported by businesses like SAP. Young people receive assistance for their engagement project—non-profit, sports, etc.—and they can make the most of their experience through learning. 

Completing all of these actions in three years will be a major challenge. To achieve this goal, consultants from PwC will support the stakeholders of the major cause through skills-sharing initiatives, along with employees from major corporations like BNP Paribas.

Rémy Leclercq, Operations manager Make.org, Sidonie Dogboé, Entrepreneurial project officer NQT, Christelle Meslé-Génin, founder JobIRL, Anne-Sophie Béraud, VP Groupe Inclusion & Diversity Accor and Bertrand Cizeau, Head of group communications BNP Paribas  

When corporate employees mentor young people

One of the plan’s actions—Mentor Express—involves mentoring for young people led by employees from corporations. The initiative aims to familiarize them with business realities and introduce them to the economic ecosystem. Anne-Sophie Beraud, VP Group Inclusion & Diversity at Accor, explains that “express mentoring will provide an opportunity for our 30,000 employees to present the hospitality industry, inspire people to work in our businesses and provide a strong impetus to young people!”

“ The various professions existing in large corporations such as BNP Paribas are not widely known, especially since they have changed enormously over the last 10 years,” explains Bertrand Cizeau, Head of Group Communications at BNP Paribas. “We already have 400 employees who spend three-to-four hours per month mentoring young people. By 2020, we hope to reach one million hours dedicated by our employees to such actions. Mentoring is the most concrete way to communicate business realities to young people. By shifting the efforts to a broader scale, we hope to have a wider impact. This makes it distinct from the major cause. We are very excited about this.” » 

Mentoring is the most concrete way to communicate business realities to young people. By shifting the efforts to a broader scale, we hope to have a wider impact.

For this action, the partners will receive support from non-profits like Nos quartiers ont du talent, as well as technology companies like JobIRL, a discussion network for young people and corporate employees that has already attracted 55,000 active members. The network enables young people to speak directly with professionals and students about their interests and questions. 

An action plan led in collaboration with schools 

The national education system in France is playing a role in this action plan, as explained by the President of the Versailles Board of Education: “The Board will increase its efforts to work with local players fixing the gaps in public policy to give a real opportunity to every young person,” explains Charline Avenel, the Board President. “The initiative led by Make.org gives us a toolkit for using technology to tackle these challenges.”  

“Young people need to hear the actual stories of successful people from their backgrounds so they can rise above the social determinism they grow up with. We need to change the codes of success. Personally, one of the best chances I received was the constant encouragement of my teachers. I would prefer to say ‘provide an opportunity for every young person’, because I think we create our own chances. Opportunity takes courage and guts, especially when it comes to building a network.” Hapsatou Sy, entrepreneur. 

Photo credit: header ©Word Appeal // ©naruedol

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