The French Red Cross will be present at the 2023 edition of ChangeNOW which will take place from 25 to 27 May in Paris. This international event will host the actors of change: social enterprises, associations, investors and impact accelerators. We met Santiago Lefebvre, founder and CEO of ChangeNow, to understand the genesis and ambitions of this event.

What is ChangeNOW and what is its goal since its creation?

Santiago Lefebvre – Since its creation in 2017, ChangeNOW’s mission is to accelerate the deployment of concrete actions responding to major environmental and social emergencies. Every year, ChangeNOW organizes the world’s largest event on solutions for the planet. The summit unites entrepreneurs, investors, change leaders, policy makers and public participants from around the world in an inspiring and action-oriented format. ChangeNOW also organizes thematic events such as the Impact Job Fair, which is a recruitment fair dedicated to positive impact. Every year, ChangeNOW publishes with Les Echos Start the ranking of the most committed schools in the ecological and social transition, and leads influential actions to help develop projects with positive impact.

What is special about this new edition of ChangeNOW? What are the expected highlights?

Santiago Lefebvre – ChangeNOW 2023 will bring together 35,000 heroes of change from around the world. Together, we will put concrete solutions at the heart of our action, to respond to the greatest challenges of our century. Climate change, limited resources, biodiversity loss and lack of inclusion are the four main equations that humanity must solve for a better and more sustainable world. They will be at the heart of the editorial approach of this year’s summit. ChangeNOW 2023 will support and reinforce the trends that we believe are the catalysts of change:

– Biodiversity: with the agreement signed at COP15, how do we move from a global framework to concrete implementation?

– Planetary limits: moving from a model based on CO2 emissions to a holistic approach of planetary limits. How can our economies and, more broadly, our societies fit within these physical limits?

– Sobriety: moving away from a world of overconsumption. How can we use fewer resources to reduce our environmental impact?

– New narratives: It all starts with how we inspire people. Guiding our individual and collective behaviors, value systems and dreams; how do we turn that inspiration into transformative stories?

ChangeNOW will be the must-attend impact event of 2023, with :

– 1000 solutions for the planet presented

– 400 speakers sharing their visions for a better and more sustainable world

– 1200 present investors

– 120 countries represented.

What role can social entrepreneurship play today in solving the major issues of our time?

Santiago Lefebvre – Social entrepreneurs play an essential role in a number of ways. First and foremost, they seek to solve a real problem. In entrepreneurship, we talk about a “pain point”. What problem are we trying to solve? Due to their grassroots perspective and their willingness to put efficiency first, it is obvious that social entrepreneurs are tackling real “pain points”. Second, they are true role models for a growing number of people. They represent all the best that “the pursuit of purpose” can bring out: becoming economically independent, creating jobs, while living their passion of being fully useful.

What are the existing links between social entrepreneurship and the nonprofit world today? Have you observed an evolution over the last few years?

For a long time, the somewhat simplistic view of the world was that you either make social impact through the nonprofit world or you make money through entrepreneurship. With ChangeNOW, our goal, from the beginning, has been to tell a completely new narrative: it is possible to create a business for the common good, as proven by the thousands of projects that we have pushed since our inception.

The links between the two domains are growing stronger and even the border has sometimes disappeared: there is a real entrepreneurial side to the nonprofit world today. Among the solutions we promote, some are carried by associations, others by companies… What counts, in the end, is the real positive impact they have on the world.