Call4Team: a Social Enterprise Working on a ‘Crowdmaker’ Business Model

By June 06, 2014

The third annual Impact² day, a series of events to promote social entrepreneurship and impact investing in France and around the world, took place recently at the City Hall in Paris. There L'Atelier met up with Sokha Hin, who has set up the Call4Team community, an organisation whose aim is to promote collaborative innovation.

Social entrepreneurship took pride of place at the Impact² event held at the City Hall in Paris. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo set the tone for the day when she said: “I want to make Paris the capital of social innovation.” Today France has over 2.4 million people working in ‘social enterprises’, and social entrepreneurship therefore provides a considerable proportion of the country’s jobs and growth. The sector currently accounts for 10% of French GDP and Nicolas Hazard, President of the certified ‘social enterprise’ Comptoir de l'Innovation which hosted the event, believes that this figure is likely to grow fast. Among the initiatives showcased was Call4Team. Sokha Hin, one of its founders, is an engineer by training who decided two years ago to move away from ‘the big company’ world and become part of the Paris startup ecosystem. Now with some solid experience in this sector behind him, he has realised that a number of things are lacking. “I’ve experienced being an entrepreneur and seen the difficulties involved, and this made me want to do something to help people access innovative products and services,” he explained. This is where the idea for ‘Call4Team’ came from.

A collaborative business model

Call4Team was launched in January this year and already has over 200 people working with the organisation. It has set up an innovation platform, with the aim of “bringing experts, talented and skilled people together, people who want to share their knowhow with those who have ideas and projects to run,” Sokha Hin told the audience. The Call4Team organisation is designed to promote interaction and creativity by dismantling the sometimes daunting obstacles created by all the administrative work needed to set up a company. Many project originators are hesitant about setting up their own business because of the risks involved.  That’s where Call4Team comes in with its new business model. Innovations are developed by a community of users, financed by crowdfunding campaigns, using Fab labs in Paris to make up the prototypes. Call4Team handles the marketing and sales, taking a commission of 33% to 50% depending on the type of product or service delivered. The startup also charges a fee for hosting crowdfunding campaigns. The founders are currently working on a new legal model to ensure the various contributors to each project receive remuneration.

Encouraging ‘Crowdmaking’

At the moment, these contributors – young graduates, unemployed people, retired people – are not paid anything, but “this is a priority”, underlined the Call4Team co-founder.  It must be an urgent priority since the first collaborative project starts this month, with a planned product launch in September. Sokha Hin reckons that Call4Team embodies “a shift from crowdsourcing to crowdmaking.” Call4Team creates and coordinates communities of users, manages project co-creation, and produces and markets the products. “Our initiative is all about real sharing of value,” claims Sokha Hin.  At the present time child care and nursery education, wood-based manufacturing and music are the sectors most attracted by the concept, but the goal is to bring together a wider range of skills and by September to increase the number of people working with Call4Team to 5,000. The Internet plays a crucial role in the process, helping to mobilise the community on a national and international scale and getting the products and services on to the market. "Call4Team intends to develop an online market place for innovative products,” says Sokha Hin.

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