“Graduated from a business school, I quickly understood that what attracted me was more linked to people than to finance. This is why I immediately headed towards the social economy where I will evolve for fifteen years. First by launching various microfinance projects with Adie and MicroCred. Then by leading and coordinating the Movement of Social Entrepreneurs (now Movement Impact France). By organizing events to allow members to meet, I realized that talking to strangers was not easy. I then developed techniques to “break the ice”. And that’s where the idea of the Social Bar germinated.
Bars to meet
“In 2016, with the one who will become the co-founder of the Social bar, David Rivoire, we realize that a space of its offices facing the street is not used. But I didn’t want to do one more bar. I wanted it to be a place where you could come alone with the assurance of making friends. Bars have lost their function of social mixing since we often go there in groups, to join people we know. We then developed a whole series of techniques to make the bar a place of conviviality.
With us, people meet through activities (games that allow strangers to talk to each other, etc.) offered by a friendliness agent. I was this facilitator for a long time, before admitting that it was necessary to train others and that the concept would be sustainable if it did not rest solely on my shoulders. This is how the School of Conviviality was born, thanks to which we train people who are somewhat on the fringes of the traditional working world: school dropouts, long-term unemployed or simply burnt-out employees. -out…”
The conquered companies
“The Social Bar quickly duplicates itself in the regions. We had 25 projects before the Covid, which slowed down development a bit, but we have already created Social Bars in Strasbourg, Saint-Ouen, Dijon, Biarritz and that of Montpellier opens in a few weeks. All work with local co-owners who invest 100 to 10,000 euros to take ownership of the concept. In Paris, we have 365 co-bosses.
Another commitment: each bar must donate 15% of its profits to local associations. But we quickly got out of the bars because our techniques for creating social ties also work very well in business. We therefore offer our know-how during seminars, conventions and company evenings. And we train their employees in “enhanced hospitality”, that is to say human and warm.”
The 2024 Olympics in sight
“Today, we are around sixty employees and we are going even further by placing our conviviality agents in places where the lack of social ties is notable. Thus, we have just signed a contract with a group of nursing homes which will welcome in each establishment a person responsible for leading meal times, bringing residents together according to their personalities or personal tastes…
With the 2024 Olympics, we have a fabulous opportunity to show the whole world that France, which is not known for its hospitality, can surprise. The needs are immense to receive tourists, to reduce the tension in the queues at the stadiums, etc. I have good hope that at the opening of the Paris Olympics, there will be as many conviviality officers as there are security officers.
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