The associative movement has created a real estate fund in order to accommodate more easily, and at reasonable rents, its many activities. To finance real estate projects, Emmaüs épargne solidaire calls on the savings of French people via a crowdfunding platform. By becoming project shareholders, savers contribute to the development of Emmaus’ economic activities and job creation.
Emmaüs adds a new string to its bow to develop its solidarity activity. The associative movement has created a real estate company in order to acquire places to host the activities of its members. To finance these purchases, the property company called Emmaüs épargne solidaire appeals to individuals, who can invest their savings in these solidarity projects. “These activities have a double interest, they give work to people who need it and facilitate their integration.“, explains Marc Prévot, chairman of the supervisory board of the Emmaüs épargne solidaire property company.
“Our challenge is to open new sites, but real estate is expensiveexplains Florian Maillebuau, Emmaüs property manager. We therefore wanted to create Emmaus solidarity savings to raise funds from individuals. This makes it possible to buy buildings which are then rented to Emmaüs associations“.
A first funded project
A first project was already financed at the beginning of the year, to buy commercial premises near Cannes and open a new shop selling recycled items. Nearly 240 savers chose to invest through Emmaüs épargne solidaire to carry out the operation, which created six jobs. While the activity of repairing and recovering reused objects is on the rise within the movement, with an overall turnover that is growing by 5% every year, many other types of activity may be subject to savers.
The Tero Loko project, in the process of raising funds, is thus developing an organic market gardening activity, the sale of baskets of vegetables on a short circuit and the production of bread. Currently housed by the town hall, it must soon leave its premises. The property company is seeking to raise 400,000 euros to construct a new building to house the activity. Other projects should follow, such as the creation of a new community in the Lot, a peasant baker’s activity in the Dordogne, an association to fight against illectronism in Ile-de-France, etc.
A concrete social impact
For each project, Emmaüs épargne solidaire conducts a financial analysis to ensure economic viability. It then proceeds to fundraising, using the services of Lita.co, the crowdfunding platform. Individuals wishing to support the operations register on the platform in order to invest their savings in the projects submitted by the associative movement, for a minimum of 100 euros. They then become shareholders in the land project, with the local associations then becoming tenants of the property acquired.
If it is not a donation but a capital investment, the motivation of savers cannot be purely financial. “The objective is to propose a social rent for associations. We do not aim to pay dividends“, emphasizes Marc Prévot. Savers, however, benefit from a tax advantage, as long as they are patient. “Emmaüs épargne solidaire benefits from the Esus approval (Social Utility Solidarity Company, ndr), which allows individuals to benefit from a 25% income tax reduction if they remain in the capital for at least 7 years.“, explains Florian Maillebuau.
But it is above all the concrete social impact in the territories that attracts solidarity savers. The new branch of Emmaus plans to launch some twenty real estate projects over the next ten years, for an amount of 10 million euros, and which should make it possible to create up to 300 new jobs.
Arnaud Dumas, @ADumas5