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Drôle de Pain: responsible bakery

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“No matter how small your impact may be, you have to try“ says Antoine Soive, a baker in Montpellier, who is firmly committed to social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Antoine’s education, experiences, travelling and curiosity increased his sensitivity towards groups at risk of exclusion. This is why he is determined to do his bit and help others through what he loves – baking and ‘petite restauration’.

At Drôle de pain, since 2013, Antoine offers work placements to persons from vulnerable groups like ex-convicts, substance abusers or unemployed persons facing social exclusion. They make up about half his workforce.

“The challenge is twofold,” he explains. “To convey professional skills so that they improve their employability and can stand on their own two feet when the placement is over; and work on basic life-skills, like professional behaviour, self-confidence or communication. It’s hard work sometimes, but it’s very rewarding. Everyone is learning here. Everyone.”

To minimise his carbon footprint, Antoine sources materials like flour and wheat locally and uses renewable energy to power his project. The bakeries are also equipped with second-hand furniture, but most interesting is perhaps the approach to waste management: “Our waste is picked up and delivered by bicycle to a farm just up the road, where it is converted into compost and used to grow fruit and vegetables that we then buy for our products” explains Antoine, illustrating perfectly what the circular economy looks like.

With financial support from LaNef in the form of a loan guaranteed by the EU and backed by the EIF, Antoine was able to make the necessary renovations to open a second bakery and with time, ten new employees were hired to run it.

Now running three bakeries and employing over twenty people, Antoine has no doubt that social enterprise is beneficial for everyone involved – the staff, the company and the economy. “For me it’s about values. It’s more than just senseless capitalism. It’s a tiny contribution, but it’s something to make things better.”

Company: Drôle de Pain (France)

Type of business: food & beverages

EIF financing: EaSI Guarantee Facility Instrument

Financial intermediary: LaNef

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Austria, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/fr/index.htm

 

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