Alain Mérieux’s “L’Entreprise des Possibles”: OL 80th member company and a promising balance sheet two years after its creation

It was, at the beginning of February 2019, two years ago, one of the most striking speeches of the Company Day organized by the CPME at the Halle Tony Garnier in Lyon.

At the podium at the end of the evening in front of more than 2,000 Lyon decision-makers, Alain Mérieux, 81, the most respected boss in Lyon, with his usual humor and self-mockery, had found the right words: “The old dog that I am has left its niche to launch a call for companies: my vision is that of an entrepreneurial capitalism that is fighting in society. Seeing precariousness grow in our country is of great concern to me. It is no longer bearable; French society can no longer leave all these people by the wayside. ”

He then announced the creation of his association: “Entreprise des Possibles”.

Where are we two years later?

Certainly, the Possibles’ business is running at full speed. Alain Mérieux has put at its head his former HRD of BioMérieux (who had 420 people under his responsibility), Patrick Lepagneul, 55, a man with an undisputed reputation as a go-getter. The team is made up of four people.

Eradicate the very great precariousness

Recall the concept. The idea is to get the business world to invest in the social field, in this case to eventually eradicate the very great precariousness in the Metropolis where there are more than 3,000 unemployed. shelter, something that no public policy has ever succeeded in doing.

For this, companies get involved, but above all their employees who under the aegis of their management benefit from numerous facilities to get involved in the field and help associations.

The other aspect of the “Entreprise des Possibles” is not to do, but to select the most effective associations in the field and to support them both financially and humanly, by providing them with “troops”.

In summary, two years after its creation, the Entreprise des Possibles has already enlisted 81 companies.

The most recent, the 81st, is France Air; the 80th is one of the most emblematic of Lyon: OL.

On May 10, Jean-Michel Aulas and Alain Mérieux signed a partnership agreement.

« This merger with the Entreprise des Possibles will constitute a tremendous accelerator for all the programs supported by the Club as part of its CSR (Social and Environmental Responsibility) strategy ”explained Jean-Michel Aulas during the signing.

81 member companies of the Entreprise des Possibles

“We have therefore gone from 22 founding companies two years ago to 81 today which represent 50,000 employees. Alain Mérieux has set us the objective of bringing together a hundred by the end of the year, ”explains Patrick Lepagneul.

The latter continues to take stock: “in two years, we have collected 1.5 million euros and enabled 2,200 employees from member companies to get involved in the project.”

The articulation in the field is done through 28 associations.

The balance sheet also and it is already not thin: “We have succeeded in giving a roof over to 600 people in the Metropolis. The chalets manufactured by Huttopia, a member of the association, have multiplied to accommodate the homeless. ”

The fact remains that, as observed in the field, the general delegate of the “Entreprise des Possibles”, the Covid-19 crisis has greatly increased the great precariousness.

“We had to implement priorities: towards young people and women, many of whom end up in the streets with children.

“It was not in our attributions from the beginning, we have just gathered together with a collective, 5 tons of food to make 10,000 meals for students, many of whom due to the crisis have also fallen into great precariousness.”

A room for women on the street after giving birth

For women: nearly 200 mothers meet in the street with their child every year after giving birth. Hence in particular an ongoing project to find a roof for 35 of them. It should see the light of day by the end of the year.

Things are therefore progressing, but the crisis has accentuated the needs. In any case, if the crisis had a negative side, “it also accentuated the need for meaning and commitment within companies whose employees are more and more numerous to engage with us”, notes Patrick Lepagneul.

He is convinced that the objective assigned by Alain Mérieux, to eradicate the great precariousness in the Metropolis is possible in the long term if the movement continues to grow. “It’s true, it will take time, but the more companies and their employees will join us, the more this time will be shortened”, launches the ex-HRD launched in an adventure which he describes as “fascinating”. The call is launched …

Photo- Signature of the OL / Entreprise des Possibles partnership between Jean-Michel Aulas and Alain Mérieux.