Hello there! I’m Kenza and I was born 23 years ago in the Kingdom of Morocco. You know.. This North African sunny land where people welcome you with a cup of mint tea, meals like couscous and tajine wearing djellabas and crossing the desert by camels :) After spending the 1st part of my life there, supported by my french high-school and my parents, I decided to go study business in France.
Starting university, I realized a whole life was going on in a narrow corridor behind the walls: the associations’ corridor. There at the end of it, one of the students organizations was calling me to begin a brand new path of sense: Cheer Up. Launched 10 years ago by a young entrepreneur who had cancer, Cheer Up is now a national community of students who go to hospitals to support young people who have cancer, helping them build personal projects, with the strong belief that fighting for your projects helps you fight against illness. For 3 years, passionate about the cause and seeing I was usefull, I volunteered then run Cheer Up. In the meantime, I followed classes and got a 1st job in an insurance company. With these 2 positions, I felt I lived in 2 parallel worlds: my “rational” work VS my passion for empowering people. During one year I spent my days calculating ratios and my nights making sense while working for Cheer Up. Very enriching, and still… very tiring and unsustainable. So i decided to STOP being so “dual” and START conciliating both, making a logical link between my work and my passion for supporting people overcome their life challenges.
I took a year off, started the research and Googled “Make Sense”, which took me 30 seconds to find makesense.org, that worldwide network of volunteers that have the passion to help social entrepreneurs solve their challenges to develop meaningful projects for society. Curious about it, I decided to know more, so I followed it on social networks. There I discovered that beyond the platform, MakeSense was a global community of Gangsters (volunteers) who organized HoldUps (creativity workshops) to solve Social Entrepreneurs’ challenges :) A few months later, a job offer popped out: “Start-Up Supporter” within the newly created SenseCube, accelerator for early-stage social/environmental entrepreneurs, born within MakeSense. Of course I couldn’t resist it, so I applied, got the job, and started the SenseAdventure.
During 6 months within the SenseCube, with the 2 cofounders Lea and Alizee, supported by our community of mentors and the MakeSense community, we helped Olivier allow the deaf to phone (RogerVoice), Selma train the homeless to be touristic guides (L’Alternative Urbaine), Corinne fight against loneliness (Kawaa), Wassim upcycle furniture (Upcycly), Tanguy and Juliette transform organic waste into energy (Love Your Waste). A dozen of social entrepreneurs in one year. Seeing the impact we were generating by supporting these changemakers, i felt useful and didn’t wanna stop. God, destiny, the karma or call-it-whatever-you-want sent me a sign: 3 weeks before the end of my internship in Paris, my team asked me > “Hey, wanna go boom SenseCube in Mexico?” :D :o :) o/ Well, i mean, how could I say no.
So I called my parents, packed my bag, took the 1st plane, crossed the Atlantic, and arrived with my whole life in 4 mallettes in an appart full of local MakeSense Gangsters, who were doing their monthly meeting to refine their action plan for MakeSense Mexico to better support the local social entrepreneurs. The day after, I started the new SenseAdventure with a DreamTeam of 3 passionate girls: Fer, my partner during 6 months, administrator by profession and designer by heart, Angie our Bolivian businesswoman and Lorena the amazing mexicana who started MakeSense in Mexico 2 years ago :)
Our mission for 6 months: identify and meet innovative social entrepreneurs working on urban #water issues in Mexico, select the most promising ones and accelerate their development through a SenseCube program with the support of our local partners and the local MakeSense community. 6 months later, mission achieved : we sourced 70 innovative projects on water, selected 6 of them among which: a machine creating water out of air, a new technology that fixes tubes without excavating, a digital platform that saves lives and goods in case of floods, sensors that control water consumption in buildings… (Curious? Discover them here)!
Well, now I’m back to Paris to finish my Masters Degree in Audit and Control. And people tell me: why the h*** did you go back to that world? My response is that the new challenge to bring social impact to the next level is to link these 2 “a priori” separate worlds TOGETHER, putting each one’s expertise at the benefit of social business, whether creating ones or helping existing innovative entrepreneurs solve the most pressing issues of our times, just as we do in SenseCube with the community of partners, mentors, experts and Gangsters.
If you ask me about my most important learning after this SenseYear, i’d tell you: find a challenge (we don’t call them problems), solve it (mobilizing different areas of expertise, using the power of the community and the leverage of new technologies), then celebrate (whether with beer or mint tea, with the ones you love). We apply this in the way we support social entrepreneurs and run our organizations, and it inspires us in our daily lives. Now, ask yourself: what’s your challenge? How can you solve it?
Who will you celebrate it with?
Today, in MakeSense we have a challenge: continue supporting innovative social entrepreneurs by mobilizing 1 Million people in 10 strategic regions in the world, with 10 baby SenseCubes all around the globe, as we did in Mexico!