In an age when most communities fail to reach out enough, global social entrepreneurship community Makesense does exactly that.
Initially, Makesense started as a small community, a digital platform for young people wanting to develop their local business ecosystems. The following year, Makesense was recognized as a non-governmental organization (NGO). By the end of 2017, the community had offices in seven cities around the world (Paris, Beirut, Abidjan, Dakar, Lima, Manila, and Mexico).
Makesense was founded in 2010 in France by two social entrepreneurs, Christian Vanizette and French-Lebanese Leila Hoballah. After they met in India where they were working on separate projects, the duo decided to establish a social enterprise of their own back home…
Small team, big ambitions
In December 2015, Makesense expanded to Lebanon with Elsa Abi-Khalil (member of The World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers youth initiative and of the US Embassy’s Youth Advisory Council – YAC) in collaboration with Vanizette, Hoballah and others. It initially started as a pilot project, a small scale study or experiment, supported administratively and legally by l’ATELIER (a Lebanese NGO) and funded by La Fondation des Cedres– both working in social, cultural and educational development and revoking violence. To make their business development model more sustainable, Makesense now develops programs and delivers innovation services with various organizations and institutions, such as L’Institut Francais (a French public industrial and commercial organization), l’Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD, an accelerator and incubator), and Solidarités International (an NGO that attends to basic needs in areas of conflict and natural disasters).
The Makesense community in Lebanon operates in more than 15 cities, including Saida, Aley, Baabda, Baakleen, Beirut, and Jbeil. The Lebanon office currently consists of two members: Maya Wakim (regional community developer of Lebanon and MENA) and Abi-Khalil. Despite its limited staff, the operation also stands as the regional headquarters for Makesense MENA, organizing events in seven countries within the region (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco).
On May 20, Makesense Lebanon will launch its first Arabic online course, #DreamToStart – a self-study program accessible to all citizens in Lebanon. “We want to provide free education and community support for any citizen who wants to learn more, potentially become a social entrepreneur, or make an impact by receiving training and organizing community events,” says Wakim.