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09 May 2016 - Philanthropy

How to scale your business successfully.
An innovative mentorship programme for positive impact companies

Scale Up, a combined initiative by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations and French business school ESSEC, supports the growth of positive impact companies.
The Edmond de Rothschild Group’s experts partner with these entrepreneurs and provide them with strategic, financial and fund raising advice.


What differentiates social impact companies is their raison d’être: they provide an answer to social and environmental issues. They use their free-market approach simply as a means to achieve their social or environmental objectives.

What is the objective of Scale Up?

The aim of the programme is to help companies with proven economic and social-impact track records to take their business to the next level, by increasing their reach, diversifying their services and expanding into new areas. Over the course of a year, entrepreneurs benefit from training sessions, professional advice, as well as access to various networks of committed investors and entrepreneurs. The programme ends with a pitch, where the entrepreneurs present their business plan to potential investors. Firoz Ladak, Executive Director of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, notes: "The Scale Up programme is a reflection of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations' activities over the past ten years, targeting inclusion, social commitment and the building of bridges between different sectors of society."

Scale Up is a reflection of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations' activities: [...] targeting inclusion, social commitment and the building of bridges between different sectors of society. end Firoz Ladak, Executive Director of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations

Experts committed to entrepreneurs

The bankers of the Edmond de Rothschild Group volunteer their expertise to help social impact entrepreneurs. They bring their financial expertise to the table and advise these entrepreneurs in developing their business, in terms of both strategy and fund raising.

Latham & Watkins lawyers and Edmond de Rothschild communications experts also contribute to the programme and share their expertise on legal and communications matters.

Scale Up in action: three positive impact entrepreneurs and their mentors tell their story

Since 2010, 26 companies took their business to the next level. More than this, though, the programme provides fertile ground for original and meaningful encounters.

Combating unemployment through free digital job training

Simplon Co. was set up by Frédéric Bardeau and Erwan Kezzar to provide intensive, free-of-charge training in the creation of websites and mobile apps, which can serve as the basis for a career.

The training is aimed primarily at under-25s that have few or no qualifications and come from underprivileged or rural backgrounds. Target participants also include the unemployed, the disabled, welfare recipients, women, and older people seeking to update their skills.

Christian Ménard, member of the Board of Edmond de Rothschild Corporate Finance who has worked alongside Simplon.co, says:

"For me, the goal was to properly understand Frédéric Bardeau's strategy and translate it into a coherent plan without in any way detracting from his entrepreneurial drive and enthusiasm."

Soieries du Mékong
Providing autonomy through training for Cambodian women

The initiative strives to help Cambodian women become more autonomous by providing training in the art of silk weaving and offering ongoing support to the craftswomen involved.

Chief Financial Officer of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, Cynthia Tobiano, took part in this project under the auspices of Scale Up.

"I was immediately taken with the energy of the Soieries du Mékong initiative. Often they are preoccupied by how best to use the means at their disposal to obtain an end result. We try to get them to move away from this by telling them to stop focusing on the means and think about what they want and the direction they want to go in."

Micro-credit for start-ups

Patrick Sapy set up microStart in 2010, with the backing of Maria Nowak, founding president of ADIE. It now has six branches in Belgium, 16 employees and a €1.3 million budget, and provides financing and support for start-ups and self-employed workers who are unable to obtain traditional bank loans. It has granted almost 800 micro-loans since its inception.

MicroStart was assisted by Gilles Nobécourt, a Partner with Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, who says:

"I tried to cast a fresh eye on microStart and encourage them to move away from traditional financing methods."