A few weeks ago, we asked a question to the start-ups that are part of our community: is it possible to be both profitable and maintain sustainable practices? Can we use entrepreneurship to do good in the world, while still building a successful business model? We put out a call for these start-ups to enter the “Start-up For Good Award,” and were blown-away by the response. Yes, a start-up can do good and be profitable, as our exceptional finalists Parkbus, Ecotree, Meet My Mama and Plast’if proved.
We invited the four to join us in Chamonix for the Summit of Minds last weekend, the annual gathering of 300 exceptional individuals in an equally exceptional place. It was a pleasure to welcome the entrepreneurs to Chamonix, where we were all able to join in with the Summit of Mind’s mission to:
• Better understand today’s world and our place in it
• Get a sense of what tomorrow’s world will be
• Enhance our capacity to make better personal, investment and strategic decisions
Sustainability is the most urgent issue of our time and sustainable practices have never been so pressing for both businesses and investors. The start-ups were judged on their financial, social and environmental impact and Meet My Mama were the worthy victors, thanks to their fantastic pitch and infectious enthusiasm for their project.
Meet My Mama connects migrant women with culinary know-how to France’s epicuriens to share real, authentic food, cooked with love and passion in pop-up restaurants across France. Helping the women to live sustainably off their talent and passion, giving them a boost to move away from economic and/or social isolation and empowering change in their lives and the lives of their families, Meet My Mama has many missions. The jury awarded them the “Start-up for Good Award’ because they demonstrated that delicate balance between having both strength in their value proposition and having a meaningful impact. As the winners, they were rewarded a learning expedition with Mountain-Path & 1 year of coaching and mentoring with senior business leaders drawn from the network of the Monthly Barometer and OneRagtime.
In addition to the award (presented as part of the Tech for Good dinner), the weekend consisted of a series of stimulating discussions against an incredible backdrop. We discussed the impact of blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, the future of work, and the social impact of companies, interspersed with activities like rock-climbing, hiking and art workshops.
Our godfather Philippe Bourguignon opened the Summit of Minds with one request: “be optimistic”, something we must remind ourselves to do in what can seem like turbulent times. It was a privilege to be amongst such high-level speakers like Armen Sarkissian, President of Armenia, who joined for the “Start-up for Good” competition, John Hope Bryant, Chairman and CEO of Operation Hope, Ted Souder, Head of Industry of Google and Stéphane Vidal, Chairman of Primonial.
We must also extend a thank you to Axel Dauchez, CEO of our portfolio company Make.org and Joséphine Goube, CEO of Techfugees, who both gave inspirational presentations of their start-ups that are seeking to improve the world around us.
Other wider topics of the summit really focused on the impact of technology everywhere – the future of work, on investment, on the media industry, populism rising in Europe, blockchain, conversations about work life balances. But what was clear was that using technology “for good” is a topic that we care about unanimously, and increasingly so with the passing of time.
Once again, congratulations to Meet My Mama and everybody who applied to the Start-up For Good Award, and thank you to the Monthly Barometer, Mountain Path and all the attendees at the Summit of Minds. Until next year!
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