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4th edition of the HEC Paris Social and Sustainable Business Forum

18 Mar 2016

Social and solidarity business managers, NGOs and CSR divisions of large companies came forward for this unique recruitment event at HEC Paris

social business at HEC Paris
sustainability jobs
social incubator at HEC Paris
Social and Solidarity business forum at HEC Paris

The Social and Sustainable Business forum organized by the ESP’R association with the support of the SnO (Society and Organizations) center serves two purposes:

  • To promote the social and solidarity economy on HEC Paris’ campus
  • To widen students’ professional horizons by presenting them with internship, job and volunteering opportunities

This recruitment event was held as part of “Social and Sustainable week”, during which students participated in debates hosted by social entrepreneurship professionals together with a conference from the ONG Enactus, entitled “Two hours in the shoes of a social entrepreneur”.

The forum also allowed students to benefit from alumni’s sharing of their experiences, who came to represent their company, for example Nicolas Dabbaghian, co-founder of Spear.

Nicolas Dabbaghian (H13)- Social entrepreneur ‘inspired’ at HEC

The Spear project was brought to life while Nicolas Dabbaghian was still a student in the Grande Ecole program. It was following his graduation in 2013 and in the company of his business partner François (graduate from University Paris-Dauphine) that the young man devoted himself to the development of his startup.

Nicolas Dabbaghian

Spear offers a solidarity crowdfunding platform which enables investors to fund social entrepreneurs. Nicolas Dabbaghian explains, “Social entrepreneurs present their project on our platform and the investors select the companies they wish to fund. All projects are chosen by our team: considering their social and environmental impacts as well as their financial viability”. “These projects are also secured by our partner banks (Société Générale, BNP and Crédit Coopératif). Our investors therefore do not bear the risk of the projects they finance, which our partner banks take responsibility for. This functional model is very much an innovative and distinguishing point for Spear”.

To date, the startup has already raised 5 million euros from investors and continues to experience rapid growth. However, the young entrepreneur’s success doesn’t stop there. Nicolas is also behind the creation of 2 other startups:

  • The consulting agency- Capsens, specialized in Fintech
  • And a brand new start up- Captain Crowd – which offers a service situated between e-commerce and crowdfunding through a preorder integrated solution.

The distinguishing features of an HEC Paris education

It was during a conference at HEC Paris that the young man was able to discover the opportunities available within social entrepreneurship. He recalls, “It was a totally innovative concept at the time. During this conference the president of the SOS group, Jean Marc Borello, gave a speech which showed me that it is possible for anyone to make a living from their passion for social business”.

Academic teaching also comforted the young man in his career choices, “classes such as ‘Business and Poverty’, the elective taught by Frédéric D’Alsace during which numerous speakers came to share their experience, or the ‘Ethique et Entreprise’ elective (now called Ethics and Sustainability) really captivated me and helped me discover opportunities in the social and solidarity economy”.

Spear is also one of the first startups developed through StandUp HEC, HEC’s social and solidarity incubator. He reflects, “The incubator played a decisive role in the development of our company. In addition to the premises that were made available to us, we could also benefit from the support offered – particularly the one-to-one mentorship”.