Turning Paris into a MarketPLACE

by | Oct 9, 2017 | Paris Lab

PLACE Innovators and PLACEmakers come together to ‘trade’ offers and embark on future collaborations.

If the first three PLACE labs in Paris were designed to cultivate conditions for PLACE Innovators to grow feasible and sustainable projects as teams, the latest PLACE labs in July and September have seen that ambition evolve to the next level, creating new combinations of people within the PLACE experiment.

This natural evolution is linked to PLACE Innovators reaching out further, refining their projects both inside and outside the labs, listening to and learning from their respective markets with early testing or prototype and continuously refining their offers.

“I always saw myself as a business owner, but I didn’t know it would be so soon. Now I can see that it’s possible to do it in the coming year. Each person has a very good opportunity here and an important role that could change their life”. Karam Mohammed, PLACE Innovator, Paris

At the individual level, it is clear that PLACE Innovators are developing their capacities and skills as they identify what they need next in terms of their self-development, or as Sousana Alkilani, PLACE Innovator, puts it:

“PLACE is a journey you have to take. To improve yourself, to find yourself, to feel yourself”.

To respond to this growing appetite to learn and advance, PLACE has been building new bridges with its vibrant PLACEmakers ecosystem, a dynamic mix of organisations from across a range of sectors, whether private, public or civil society, who have been busy identifying and creating new opportunities for PLACE Innovators to develop their PLACE journeys as doers here in Paris – and innovators across Europe.

As Sarah McRae, PLACE Entrepreneurial Coordinator, explains:

“My role is to identify, develop and forge new links between the PLACE Network, PLACEmakers and the opportunities they are creating. At the same time I’ve been actively working with each PLACE Innovator and their project to identify areas that they are looking to develop – whether in terms of their projects, or their personal skills and capacities as leaders and catalysts for the development of other people’s potential”.

A physical fusion at scale of PLACE Innovators and PLACEmakers came about in a recent PLACE Lab. High up in the studios of the l’Odéon, Théâtre de l’Europe, the lab space was transformed into a pop-up marketPLACE with about a dozen colourful ‘match-making’ stalls. This enabled PLACE innovation teams and PLACEmakers to visit, learn more about each other and trade offers and ideas for the future.

This meant for the PLACE Innovators an opportunity to describe the exciting projects they have been developing in the PLACE Labs: from developing the talent of young athletes, intercultural health services, pop-up music studios, new economic models for traditional handicrafts, festive events to fight isolation of vulnerable communities, and gamified approaches to learning mathematics,among other. Each team had already visually mapped out where they wanted to get to next and what they needed to develop further. They were keen to find out what the invited PLACEmakers could offer them.

In fact PLACEmakers brought wide-ranging contributions to the PLACE innovation mix.These consisted of skills development, scholarships, incubation programmes, co-working spaces, buddy support and an invitation to co-create a high-level artistic project.

As Binta Jammeh from Konexio affirms:

“It was great getting to hear from all the PLACE Innovators and learn more about the development of their creative and exciting project ideas that are aimed at tackling a number of societal changes. From how to improve access to education and healthcare to more viable ways for communities to stay connected and engaged, it’s clear the PLACE Innovators are an inspiring group of entrepreneurs ready to make their mark on their communities. They are making great strides in advancing and developing their projects.”

Since the MarketPLACE event, PLACE Innovators and PLACEmakers have been in close interaction, moving forward together on the basis of their mutual fits and desires. For PLACE, the MarketPLACE was the very beginning of a tangible matching process between newcomer talent and the rich Parisian ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. This matchmaking will intensify in the months ahead, with matches being presented at the upcoming Graduation Party on December 7th – more details to follow!

Want to join in the action as a PLACEmaker to offer opportunities to concrete migrant-led innovation? Or join as a PLACE Innovator to develop your own exciting project?

We’d love to hear from you. The journey is only just beginning.

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