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Press release

With Resource Raising Fest, NEOMA students participate in helping l’Arche à Reims

Published on 30 April 2021 by NEOMA

As part of their programme and in keeping with the school’s desire to contribute to the Reims region, students from the MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation programme started the Resource Raising Fest. This year the challenge was focused on collecting resources to benefit L’Arche à Reims, an institution that houses and assists mentally disabled adults. The goal was to raise funds that would finance the renovation of a meeting room that will be used to hold diversity management events and raise awareness about people with disabilities in the work environment. After three months of work, the jury selected three projects proposed by the students. This was an innovative, socially minded initiative, contributing to changing the perspective on people with disabilities.

A supportive challenge to assist l’Arche in collecting resources

​​Last autumn, l’Arche à Reims, an institution that houses and assists mentally disabled adults, contacted NEOMA with the proposition that the school’s students help them in raising funds to finance a building project called “Salle Solidaire” (Solidarity Hall).

Mehdi Bagherzadeh, director of NEOMA’s MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation, a programme dedicated to business creation and entrepreneurial innovation, decided to involve his students in this challenge. “This challenge presented an opportunity to have the students work on a practical problem proposed by l’Arche à Reims where they could apply their creativity and innovation to help develop the region and respond to a serious social concern”.

The students formed groups and worked together to brainstorm ideas that l’Arche à Reims could use to develop three important areas: fund collection, communication and volunteer recruitment. To ensure this project succeeded, they enlisted the support of KPMG, the programme’s official partner, which held a creative workshop based on this subject.

Three recommendations selected by the final jury

After three months of group work, the MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation students presented the results of their efforts as well as their proposals intended to respond to the problem that l’Arche à Reims was facing. The jury was made up of Bénédicte Paille, director of l’Arche à Reims, Franck Germain, president of l’Arche à Reims, Pierre-Louis Araud, administrator and “Salle Solidaire” project head for l’Arche à Reims, François Quédignac, KPMG partner, NEOMA campus partner and KPMG-MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation partnership manager, and Ophélie Legrand, founder of the start-up Lokalero that specialises in the social and solidarity economy. 

At the end of the presentation, the jury selected three recommendations, which the Reims association is currently reviewing:

  • 1st place: The organisation of an event involving several artists called “l’Arche Evening” that aims to collect funds and recruit volunteers.
  • 2nd place: The development of a three-step strategy: a fundraising raffle, optimal use of social networks to recruit volunteers and a partnership strategy with local companies to raise funds or collect tools and materials.
  • 3rd place: The organisation of several fund-raising events: a charity run, a festival (Festiv’Art) and an auction. 

All of the jury members recognised the commitment, passion and drive of the students to give their best for an important social project. “For the members of the jury, it was a pleasure to listen to the pitches, learn about the proposals and see the commitment of the ten student teams from the MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation programme,” Bénédicte Paille, director of l’Arche à Reims, said.

A challenge that will now be a yearly event

While the initiative may have had a singular purpose at first, the programme director decided to make the Resource Raising Fest an integral part of the programme, “Aside from the success of this initiative with l’Arche, I also saw in it the opportunity to create an ongoing challenge in my programme, which will be focused on the search for financial or skills-based resources that benefit non-profit organisations,” Mehdi Bagherzadeh said.

This challenge, which will be held every year to benefit a social association in the region, offered an excellent learning experience for the students, giving them the chance to contribute to a mission involving social responsibility. “I am proud of each of my students, their various innovative ideas and the presentations during the pitch. Through Resource Raising Fest, our school will now expand its contribution to the region even further.”

Learn about the collaboration between l’Arche à Reims and NEOMA Business School in pictures