What is Fact Impact Planet?
The Fact Impact Planet is a ‘learning through action’ program, created by HEC Paris and its field-partner Im’Prove. The program mobilizes students in field missions to support social entrepreneurs in their development: students help social entrepreneurs better assess their social impact and improve their performance, all whilst living a unique learning experience.
This year students will lead 10 field missions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. One of the key success criteria of these missions was the ability of the students to understand the needs of the social entrepreneur, and to adapt the mission to these needs.
Who comprises the jury?
Each team presented their missions in front of a jury composed of entrepreneurs, program partners and HEC Paris professors. All students’ projects entered for a chance to win excellence grants provided by the Sysley D’Ornano Foundation. These grants finance the students’ entire mission, designed to assist the social entrepreneurs.
Eliminating plasting bag pollution in India
Simon Wisdom and his team were one of the 5 groups to be selected for the grant. The team composed of four international students was paired with Rohit Nayak, founder and CEO of EcoAd - a company that trains women at the bottom of the pyramid to upcycle used newspapers to resell as carry bags - with the eventual aim of eliminating plastic bag pollution in India.
The Master in Management students will spend the next 6 weeks conducting a market study, which will involve surveying both retailers (grocery shops, cafes, takeaway restaurants), and end-users in order to understand why and how people use paper and plastic bags. Simon states “We hope to give meaningful recommendations to EcoAd to improve its business and sell more of its bags.” Simon has developed a great interest for the Fact Impact Planet program, and among the takeaways he says “applying social impact theory in a real business, experiencing life in a developing country, being exposed to other missions and learning from other teams and finally network from experienced social impact consultants”.
Supporting entrepreneurs in African countries
Another mission which was presented on the day was a mission carried out in association with African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), a nonprofit collection of incubators that supports entrepreneurs in African countries. The students’ FACT Impact mission with AEC focuses on measuring the value of the services offered and taking a deep look at the business’s levels of job creation. Throughout the six weeks with the nonprofit, the team will interview current and former clients, asking them about their business, their personal demographics, their motivations to become an entrepreneur, the employee profiles sought by the organization, and their levels of engagement with AEC. Team member, Jessa Coleman explains, “In our analysis, we will compare such factors as engagement and job creation to discern which service offerings correlate with the highest level of job creation. We will analyze the jobs created to shed a brighter light on questions such as whether these are net jobs created, permanent positions, and so on.”
Jessa reflects on the contribution of this project to these organizations’ success “With FACT Impact, we saw a unique opportunity to be part of a project that addresses pressing global needs through local, tangible business solutions. Assessing the impact of socially and environmentally-conscious businesses is vital in helping these organizations plan, implement, and scale their unique solutions to various societal problems.”