Startin’blox interviewed Antoine GOULARD – La République de l’ESS

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Hello Antoine, how about introducing yourself first?

Hello ! My name is Antoine, I’m 23 years old and I’m a project manager at ESS France since October, on “La République de l’ESS”.

My role is to take care of this project in almost all the fields. In particular, I followed up on the construction of our participatory platform with Startin’blox, I feed it with content, I do a little communication and I also work with the animation collective which is the project’s management body. Apart from the platform, I also participate in developing “La République de l’ESS” in other ways: organizing conferences, interviews, creating related sites…

We have also opened a second website, on the occasion of Black Friday: www.vivresansamazon.org. We wanted to position ourselves on the subject of consumption on large online sales platforms and so we created this site which highlights the solutions that the SSE can offer to develop a more responsible consumption.

Can you explain to us what ESS is? And “La République de l’ESS”?

The SSE is the Social and Solidarity Economy, that is to say all the structures that function and act with a solidarity and/or social utility object. It includes a lot of things, whether in terms of structures (associations, cooperatives, mutual societies, foundations…) or sectors of activity (all are represented in the SSE). All this represents 2.4 million employees, which is more than 10% of the total number of salaried jobs in France.

We can therefore see the ESS as a mosaic of structures of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy. This great diversity is a strength but also a weakness: myself at the beginning I had difficulty to understand what was the ESS concretely when it gathers big mutual societies present everywhere in France but also the local recycling. It was also difficult to bring such different actors around the same table, even though they all share the same values: social solidarity, a fairer society, a more equitable economy…

The Republic of SSE is precisely a project to gather all these people around the same objective: to build and address a common message showing that the social and solidarity economy can apply its methods and values to the whole society and make it more just and sustainable. This is what our participative platform is for, because we believe that all the actors involved in the SSE have ideas to make our society progress.

The other objective of “La République de l’ESS” is precisely to succeed in bringing back all this world (structures, networks but also the individuals who compose them) around this common project and to reinforce the capacity of SSE to “make movement”, beyond the differences of activity, territory and structures.

Why did you choose Startin’blox?

The choice of Startin’blox was motivated by several things. First of all, Startin’blox is a cooperative, and therefore a structure of the social and solidarity economy. It is important for us to know that the tool of “La République de l’ESS” is itself “made in ESS”, it gives more sincerity and authenticity to our will to gather around a project that wants to show that ESS can be a project of society.

Then, the development approach of Startin’blox was also important to us: to have an open source platform, with a control and a protection of the data and a will to limit the energy consumption related to their storage… All these are values that we share and that we want to put forward.

Finally, we wanted to have an efficient tool but also very scalable, because our project will evolve over time and Startin’blox offers us this possibility.

Do you have a last message for our readers?

Go to www.vivresansamazon.org ! It’s a good way to find solutions to make purchases while reducing your impact on the environment and supporting forms of production that are much more useful to society than the big online sales platforms. And I’ve even found gift ideas for Christmas in the stores we share on the site.

Otherwise, if you are interested in ESS, you can always join us on the platform www.larepubliqueess.org, you have to create an account but it is open to everyone and it talks about all subjects. You can submit your ideas or simply follow the debates and discover the events that we organize or that we relay.