Blue Bees' mission is to support the ecological transition through crowdfunding.
52% of French people believe that our capitalist economic model is not at all compatible with the fight against global warming. In order to meet the ecological, economic, social and societal challenges of tomorrow, we need to break away from what we know and develop a more sober, collaborative economic system, benefiting local neighbourhoods and supporting the creation of jobs and social links.
Crowdfunding meets the criteria of a new economic and social model: a project leader can be funded directly by private individuals through donations and loans. As an alternative to the more restrictive traditional banking system, it is also an effective communication tool for testing how well a project is perceived by the public.
But how can this tool be used to support the ecological transition? The farming industry, which emits greenhouse gases and causes deforestation, is increasingly being questioned for its contribution to climate change and the destruction of ecosystems. Paradoxically, the increase in droughts, soil degradation and desertification will make it one of the main victims, questioning our capacity to feed the 9 billion human beings who will inhabit the earth in 2050. Because it employs nearly one person in four in the world, the World Bank has launched major investments for a transformation of the world agricultural and food system, a major lever of resilience in the face of climate change and poverty reduction . In France, legislation is also being passed for the development of more sustainable practices such as agro-ecology.
At our level, how can we support a profound change in the food and agricultural system, a social and ecological transition driver?
Created in 2012 by Maxime de Rostolan, Blue Bees initially offered crowdlending, participative loans to African small business agricultural projects. Then, with the impetus and investments of François Lemarchand, founder of Nature et Découvertes, the platform became more oriented towards France and agro-ecology. A former volunteer, Emmanuelle Paillat has been running the platform since 2014.
The Blue Bees platform offers crowdfunding to support projects in France and around the world that work towards transforming the entire agricultural and food chain: setting up farmers, conversion to organic farming or agroforestry, development of methanisation, opening a shop for local producers or a coffee shop in a rural area, creation of a recycling chain, etc. The use of crowdfunding is all the more relevant as agricultural or food entrepreneurs often have difficulty accessing bank loans.
How does it work? Simply log on to the platform, browse through the projects and choose your participation :
- make a donation starting at 1 euro, as a free contribution or with a financial or in-kind counterpart (lunch basket, bottle of wine, etc.). Donations for associative projects are tax deductible.
- make a loan from 50 to 2000 euros. Projects eligible for loans have previously been selected according to financial, ethical and legal criteria. In this way, a project leader can borrow from €5,000 to €500,000 over a period of 1 to 5 years with decreasing interest rates from 6% to 3%.
Each project undergoes a fundraising campaign with a jackpot objective and a fixed term. A particularity of Blue Bees is that the funds collected are paid back even if the objectives are not reached.
The team is composed of 3 people who support the project leaders on a daily basis by training them in the fields of marketing, communication, fundraising, organisation, etc. For this purpose, Blue Bees receives 8% (excl. VAT) in commissions on donations and 4% (excl. VAT) on loans.
Supported by many social and solidarity economy and ecology players, the platform is also a member of the PROSPER Club (clickable link: https://prosper-actions.fr/), a group of funders who help certain project leaders access more substantial funding.
7 501 157 € were collected thanks to 58 560 contributors for the funding of 428 projects. Emmanuelle Paillat speaks of a real community that supports projects by affinity. Further proof, an average donation campaign collects nearly €8,500, even for a small project.
The little extra
- Blue Bees is to start supporting environmental education projects
- The current call for projects : Citizens Trees with Fermes d'Avenir ! Let's plant, let's plant!
Last modification : 30 Sep 2020.