Through

Jean-Francois Arnaud

on 05.10.2021 at 7:30 a.m.

4 min read

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Number one player in the social and solidarity economy in Europe, the SOS Group promises to revive 1,000 cafes in French villages that no longer have them. It enlisted the help of very powerful partners: Pernod Ricard, Kronenbourg, LeBonCoin, Veolia, PMU, Coca-Cola, Maif and Sacem in particular.

From left to right, Cyril Linette (PMU), Jean-Marc Borello (Groupe SOS), Fany Demulier (Veolia), Emmanuelle de Kerleau (Coca Cola), Rémy Sharps (Kronenbourg), Antoine Jouteau (Leboncoin) and Alexandre Ricard (Pernod Ricard).

The observation was made by Jean-Marc Borello, the enthusiastic president of the SOS Group several years ago. Out of 32,000 rural municipalities in France, 26,000 no longer have coffee. And it was often the last trade. And 53% of municipalities with less than 3,500 inhabitants have no daily shops, where almost a third of the French population lives.

That’s good! The SOS Group, with a turnover of 1.2 billion euros, is a federation of 600 associations and establishments spread across France. It notably brings together managers of hospitals and nursing homes, but also associations of integration or assistance to the destitute, sick, disabled and migrants and has made a specialty of intervening in all areas where the public authorities no longer intervene. “It is not a question of sending civil servants to all the villages of France, private initiative can sometimes be more effective than the administration”, explains Jean-Marc Borello, the man with 1,000 solutions.

To set up this “1,000 cafes” operation, the total budget of which amounts to one million euros, he first obtained the support of his personal friend Emmanuel Macron. A decisive support to obtain, unprecedented in France, the granting of several hundred “Licenses IV” (authorization

The model of its 1,000 cafes is as follows: 1e) the town hall ensures the provision of usable commercial premises and accommodation at moderate rents; 2nd) the 1,000 cafes team examines the file: by bringing together the investment, the recruitment of the manager and the support of the launch; 3rd) the manager imagines the identity and the offer of services of the café, he animates and manages the place. The project has often been criticized by those worried that rural populations will sink into alcoholism. Borello replies: “All managers will receive training on the risks of addictions because we are convinced that they will be the best promoters of responsible consumption. Alcoholism is developing much more in isolated people. By breaking this isolation and by creating places of socialization we will be more efficient “.

The SOS Group acts as an investor and finances the initial needs (equipment, initial stocks and cash). The manager recruited locally or among the 3,000 candidates at the national level has the status of non-salaried corporate officer. He is paid (equivalent base of the minimum wage) housed and interested in the company’s results.

The entire program was delayed by the pandemic, but already 100 municipalities have embarked on the process of opening a café. A big launch is scheduled for Saturday, October 9 in Tresson (72) with mayors and managers. But already this Monday, October 4, Jean-Marc Borello had brought together the large private groups that support his project, in a Parisian café near the Saint-Lazare station. Were present Cyril Linette (PMU), Alexandre Ricard (Pernod Ricard), Rémy Sharps (Kronenbourg), Emmanuelle de Kerleau (Coca-Cola), Antoine Jouteau (Leboncoin) and Fanny Demulier (Veolia). “This is not an operation that will enrich us, when I presented the” 1,000 coffees “program to him, my financial director was not delighted”, confides Jean-Marc Borello. “It is a program that we are happy to classify in the chapter of sponsorship operations”, we confirm at Pernod Ricard.

Especially since despite its financial and in-kind assistance (750,000 euros over two years), the spirits group does not have a particular priority to sell its brands in the 1,000 rural cafes of this operation. For its part, the Kronenbourg Foundation will provide 150,000 euros per year and a contribution in training and equipment valued at 1 million euros. Coca Cola contributes 100,000 euros per year. Leboncoin: 1.5 million euros in advertising space, PMU: 100,000 euros per year, Veolia: 50,000 euros. And the State will inject 200,000 euros via the National Agency for the cohesion of the territories. La Française des Jeux has been approached by the SOS Group but has not yet joined this consortium of goodwill.

Pernod Ricard
Coca Cola
The good corner
Veolia

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