Creating a Sustainable Hospitality Business

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How to Create a Sustainable Hospitality Business

The creation of a social and solidarity-based enterprise differs little from a traditional business start-up project. The steps are similar, but there are nuances.

Fair trade, sustainable development, services for people, recycling, social entrepreneurship has been developing for some years. Responding to new consumer trends, these companies share three common characteristics: alongside an economically viable project, they have a social purpose (fight against exclusion, integration, taking into account the environment) and very often participatory governance. Young graduates and managers in reconversion, in search of meaning, are increasingly receptive to this form of atypical creation.

The aim is social, the economic modality

Market research, business plan, search for financing, choice of legal form… the creators of social and solidarity-based businesses do not escape the path of the average entrepreneur. “It is a form of creation like any other, but the business model is reversed. In this type of project, the social purpose goes beyond economic purpose. The enterprise will create money, but it is put at the service of a cause, ” says Thierry Sibieude, professor at Essec and director general of the institute of innovation and social entrepreneurship.

It is therefore essential to carry out an in-depth market study from the outset to determine whether the project meets an economic need while providing a social response (combating exclusion, maintaining sustainable jobs, developing a social link, etc.).

Among the sectors most represented in the social and solidarity economy, services to the individual are at the top of the list, but all activities related to the environment (collection, sorting, recycling), food (short circuits), transport (sustainable mobility, self-sharing) or fair trade also occupy a significant place.

There are also initiatives in the council, such as the creation of Mozaik RH, a recruitment firm specializing in the reintegration of young people from neighbourhoods. “There are no figures on social entrepreneurship, but it is estimated that 15,000 SMEs meet the definition. It is an emerging phenomenon that attracts young people and executives looking for meaning, ” explains Elise Depecker, head of L’avise’s social entrepreneurship program.

The different types of social enterprises

The project leader has the choice between different legal forms. “He can choose a classical societal form like the SARL or the SA and mention in the articles of association the social purpose of his company as well as its mode of governance” says Elise Depecker.

They may also choose to set up a cooperative enterprise such as CAE (business and employment cooperative), SCIC (collective interest cooperative society) or Scop (production Cooperative Society). In these structures, decisions are made collectively, governance is participatory and profits are reinvested in the activity. “It all depends on the project, its ambition and the financial means of the entrepreneur. A scop favours sharing and equality without being too costly in terms of formalities. An SA, on the other hand, requires a capital of EUR 37 000 but inspires confidence among the partners. The ideal is to take advice from a lawyer because there are also social and fiscal consequences to take into account, ” insists Thierry Sibieude.

It is also possible to set up integration structures (integration enterprise, adapted enterprise, temporary employment integration enterprise, etc.) and to apply to the State for approval. In this case, financial assistance is paid to creators depending on the number of jobs created.

Brakes remain

However, it should be noted that while some forms of aid exist (see the following article), the search for finance remains a major obstacle for social entrepreneurs. “It is more difficult to convince investors with a social and solidarity project because the risk-taking is higher and the prospects of profitability are less important,” warns Sibieude.

We must therefore not hesitate to go and knock on the door of business start-up support networks such as France Initiative, France Active or Réseau Entreprendre to obtain loans of honor. “These networks are generalist, but they are sensitive to social projects and develop specific programs,” explains Depecker. As for the banks, which are already weak in financing traditional projects, it is better to turn to the Crédit coopératif, the Crédit mutuel or the NEF, a solidarity finance cooperative.

Summary: the six stages of a business creation project

  • conduct a market study
  • establish a business plan
  • seek funding
  • choose the legal form of the company
  • register the company at the CEF
  • launch the activity