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21 Dec 2011

Grenoble students offer consultancy to emergency service for the homeless

MSc in Management Consulting students at Grenoble Graduate School of Business have embarked on a project aimed at increasing the volunteer base by 20% at Vinci Codex, a not-for-profit intervention service for the homeless.

Founded over 20 years ago by Stéphane Gemmani, a Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) graduate, Vinci Codex was the first ‘Samu Social*’ established in France, providing, mostly via mobile units, care and medical aid to the homeless (distribution of food, hot drinks, blankets, etc).

The two-stage project begins with field-work during which students learn about the work of the volunteers and actually go on a round with Vinci Codex volunteers in the mobile units at night to find the homeless and help them locate shelter or other resources.

 
The second stage consists of consulting work to attract the target percentage of additional volunteers and ensure that volunteers come back or transfer responsibility to future volunteers.
 
Through a mixed media campaign, the students will target both volunteers as well as getting local firms involved, with the interest of demonstrating how corporate volunteering and donations to the association fit in squarely with most companies’ CSR initiatives.
 
To conduct the project, the MSc in Management Consulting class has been divided into several teams:
 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team

Gives companies a way to get involved in their communities and develop their social awareness.  The CSR team is working with many local businesses to develop more interest and encourage these companies to make Vinci Codex part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

 

Marketing team

Works to develop plans for non-profit organisations which have limited resources.  The marketing plan involves partnerships, social media, concepts related to mass-market exposure, fund raising, events planning etc.

 

Research team

Develops concepts related to best-practices, volunteer roles, and website development. 

 

Survey team

Works to develop a clear concept of demographics and where Vinci Codex can target its marketing efforts in the future for maximum impact.   

 
Brian Bourquard, MSc in Management Consulting student and Vinci Codex Project Manager, said: “We are working to apply traditional business-consulting skills to a social organization.  It is a unique subset of consulting to work with non-profit organisations.  Their needs are different and their goals are, obviously, not money, but in this case, volunteers and community interest.  Therefore, this project is not about developing profit streams, but is instead about engaging Grenoble for the benefit of the community.
 
Michelle Mielly, MSc in Management Consulting program director states: “Our students are using their business skills in innovative, creative, and socially just ways. It’s a real life example of putting into place a ‘social bottom line’ whether for the homeless or for the community of volunteers. This is both a great experience for the students and tangible help and consultancy for Vinci Codex as students are developing a plan which the organisation can draw upon on the long run to make it more sustainable.”
 
Jaclyn Rosebrook-Collignon, Project Manager at the Quality & Institutional Development Center, GEM, said: “The Vinci Codex project is an innovative example of how GEM’s alumni and current students are thinking differently about their role and responsibility as global managers and citizens. It’s imperative that they continue to go beyond the classroom, and the boardroom, to make meaningful and sustainable contributions to the local and global community.”
 
*SAMU Social: a national association in France that provides care for the homeless and those in distress. It also maintains the emergency help line in France.
 
 
Press Contact: Mary Zaccai