Elan Interculturel – better understanding diversity to uncover its riches

FAIRE had the opportunity to meet Elan Interculturel through its support for ‘MEnt – Migrant entrepreneurs’ programme run by our partner makesense. These two organisations have worked together to develop support programmes and are continuing their collaboration through the COMBO programme, whose second edition will commence soon. Let’s take a look at this engaged organisation.

Elan Interculturel – a project which emerged following a meeting of five immigrant women in France

According to a study by the audit firm Deloitte, “80 per cent of human resources directors and company leaders interviewed believe that inclusion and diversity represent a competitive advantage, both financially and culturally” Although diversity is a valuable asset, there can be pitfalls, especially if there are failures in communication.

Herein lies the strength of Elan Interculturel, a ‘Law of 1901’ association, created by five immigrant women in France who are experts in intercultural psychology. The priority area of action for Elan Interculturel is working on intercultural relations in order to improve communication between different cultures and allow for diversity to enrich collaboration .

As they outline on their website, the notion of intercultural communication is not well-understood, but we all use it when we meet people from different cultures. Elan Interculturel aims to act as a facilitator for exchange and for mutual understanding.

The organization’s objectives are primarily centred on offering dedicated bespoke training. From the moment the need is identified, Elan Interculturel is able to offer holistic training, which includes active participation and involvement of attendees through workshops and roleplays. The trainings sessions are primarily for people working in an intercultural environment and are aimed at how to adapt to different cultures.

COMBO – year-long support programme for entrepreneurs with a migrant background

Given their work, Elan Interculturel has teamed up with another FAIRE partner, makesense, to develop and launch the COMBO programme.

COMBO is a comprehensive support programme, ranging from four to ten months in length, aimed at people who have a migrant background and are looking to start their adventure in entrepreneurship in France.

The programme is conducted over three progressive stages. The first stage, referred to as ‘Immersion’, involves discovering entrepreneurship in an intercultural environment for two days. Following stage one, a four-month ‘Exploration’ support programme is conducted in order to further develop the entrepreneurial project. Various group trainings are organized, including on how to conduct a market study and in order to gain new skills.

Finally, following a selection process after four months of exploration, a seven-month incubation phase is offered to ten entrepreneurs to help them launch their project in practical terms. During this final stage, the entrepreneurs are accompanied by a mentor who helps them scale their project.

The most recent edition of COMBO ended this February with the ‘COMBO TV Show’ evening, organized by Elan Interculturel and makesense. The evening was also an opportunity to promote the next edition of COMBO for which enrolments are now closed. Due to the COVID19 crisis, this second edition will begin in the fall !