MakeSense started three years ago and has since then spread immensely, and you can find the movement in 86 cities around the world. Over this time more than 13 000 people have helped 373 social businesses to overcome their challenges. Klaus and Fritz met up with Camille Menart and Marie Valat, who are just about to start a MakeSense hotspot right here in Melbourne, to find out what it’s all about.
What is MakeSense?
Marie: MakeSense supports social entrepreneurs by creating connections between a need and a skill. There is this kind of nursery of people – young people with skills who want to help out. MakeSense is a new way for them to get involved in social initiatives, while learning entrepreneurial skills in the process.
Our mission is to help social entrepreneurs develop and scale their projects. Make Sense is simply the facilitator between them and all the people who want to help out. MakeSense is really a movement, about building a community and taking action. It’s young, it’s enthusiastic, it’s fresh and MakeSense is hungry to make a difference. That’s what we really want. The goal is to solve 15 different challenges every day by 2017. These challenges span the whole range of problems that a social entrepreneur can face, it could be about logistics, design, technology – anything.
What is a social entrepreneur?
Camille: If you try to summarise it, it’s pretty much people who try to find innovative solutions to social issues. They try to approach social projects in a way where they can be financially sustainable instead of relying on donations. But the main thing is really innovation. Trying to find original business models that could really work. It’s an interesting approach to tackling social issues.
How did MakeSense start?
Camille: Three years ago a couple of french guys were traveling in Asia where they started meeting with and recording videos of interesting social entrepreneurs. Meeting these entrepreneurs, they realized that there’s all these amazing people doing stuff that really have an impact, and wanted to find ways to help them. They figured that the best way was to use their own skill set to help solve any entrepreneur’s problems, and that was the start of MakeSense.
How did you get to know about MakeSense?
Camille: I happened to know one of the founders of MakeSense back in uni. I saw what she was doing and got really interested about getting involved, so I asked her if there was anything happening in Melbourne. She told me “You have to start it!”. I talked to Marie about it, and she got hooked on the idea, so we simply said “Let’s do it”. It was pretty much as simple as that.
Marie: I think we both wanted to get involved because it was a great way for us to use our skills helping social business and social action. Camille knows more about how to analyse and I’m more into communication – so together we felt we were able to use our skills to the best. We also thought about starting our own social businesses, but it was too early – we need to learn more. MakeSense is a great way for us to get involved and learn more.
How can I get involved?
Marie: First off, join us for a drink on Wednesday the 12th of March at Shebeen. We’ll introduce you a bit more to MakeSense and tell you how you can get involved. We’ll talk about social action and business innovation. And, most importantly, we’ll hopefully hear lots about you and your social venture or your desire to support social projects.
Event at Shebeen on Wed March 12, 6.30pm onwards. Cost: Free!
Thank you Camille and Marie for this interview. We wish you heaps of success for the upcoming launch event (see date and time above) and for all your future business endeavours.