Territorial Restoration Cooperative : developing collective entrepreneurship among residents from priority neighbourhoods in response to socio-economic issues.

November 2019

Union nationale des acteurs du développement local (UNADEL)

The Association for the Development of the Social and Solidarity Economy (ADESS) is experimenting, in partnership with Brest Métropole and the City of Brest, with setting up a cooperative restaurant for four months within a social centre, to serve as a tool for the socio-professional integration of local residents with a professional project related to the restaurant business.

Based on the experience of a local « youth » cooperative and the willingness of inhabitants of priority neighbourhoods to undertake in the field of catering, a group of public and private actors launched the project of a short-lived cooperative.

The first experimentation gave very positive results and the project is currently being developed.

Backgrounds and objectives

The history of the project refers to 2 ephemeral cooperative projects (2014 and 2017) aimed at young audiences (Une coopérative jeunesse de services, Deux coopératives jeunesse de territoire).

The genesis of the Territorial Restoration Cooperative project was born from the meeting of several ambitions (the desire of local support structures to reflect on new forms of employment and the desire of ADESS Pays de Brest to promote a new form of inclusive entrepreneurship, rooted in human values and serving an inventive economy) and the needs expressed by the inhabitants of Brest.

A group of structures from Brest have particularly noticed the inhabitants’ appetite for creating activities and their interest in the restaurant industry - the heart of professions under pressure, according to the observatory of Pôle Emploi Bretagne - a sector in which projects have been abounding in recent years in the priority districts of the City of Brest.

The emergence of the cooperative project has made it possible to create a cross-disciplinary dynamic in the area by mobilising all the stakeholders: inhabitants, private and public players in the area.

The Ephémère de Restauration cooperative, a project at the crossroads of the fields of integration, training and popular education, aims to :


The ephemeral restaurant cooperative project is a collective entrepreneurship project aimed at inhabitants (between 8 and 15), with the temporary provision of a kitchen laboratory that complies with standards and an offer of training-awareness on entrepreneurial skills and the catering trade.

This is a direct response to residents with a project to create an activity in the restaurant sector or people seeking to discover these professions. It is an opportunity offered to the inhabitants to immerse themselves in the catering sector and the entrepreneurial world, so that they can take the time to build their professional project in connection with their living area and/or with the local actors.

A local project support committee has been set up (a group of leaders, representatives of the citizen council, economic players, associations and institutional players) as well as a committee to monitor the project (monitoring the individual career paths of the participants in the action).

The project lasts 6 months (including 1 month of integration and 5 months of restaurant opening) and can involve 8 to 15 people (8 cooperants for the first experiment). The turnover is distributed among the inhabitants on the basis of principles decided between « peers ».

The collective brings together a multitude of partners: ADESS, the Horizons Social Centre, Défis Emploi, Cités Lab, ICEO, the Local Mission and TAg29 (social innovation propeller) and the project participants are supported on a daily basis by professionals (a technical coordinator linked to the activity, a cooperative leader, a project manager).

Over the duration of the project, the restaurant opened its doors 56 days out of 18 weeks, i.e. 4.5 months of activity. The team also provided 5 catering services

The project is part of a territorial project dynamic mobilizing companies, the house of organic agriculture and integrating the « health and food » dimension.

During the first session, an action entitled « The sustainable food citizens’ table » was organised, bringing together 80 people in the social centre and enabled participants to discuss various themes (seasonality of products, diets, balanced diet, nutritional quality, products from organic farming, food budget,…).

Financing and resources

The overall cost of the project is €70,000. It benefits from the following co-financing: €28,000 City Contract (€15,000 from the Region, €15,000 from the Direccte, €5,000 from Brest Metropole and €3,000 City Contract/Health Envelope) as well as funding from foundations.

Results and impacts

The experimentation conducted in 2019 made it possible to validate the relevance of the Ephemeral Cooperative tool with regard to the needs identified and to reinforce the stakeholders in the need to consolidate the project.

Of the 8 cooperants, 5 expressed the wish, at the end of the project, to create or take over a catering activity (catering, restaurant, foodtruck) and the 3 others are pursuing a project to find salaried employment:1 cooperant has been recruited, 1 cooperant will integrate a training course in catering, 1 cooperant is preparing to take over an activity, 1 cooperant is actively looking for a second-hand foodtruck to buy back for a start of activity in the first half of 2020.

In the end, the impacts are manifold: the lessons to be learnt on the experimentation of new forms of employment and the creation of activities, territorial cooperation around the project, the development of economic activity and the economic emancipation of women.

Obstacles and challenges

The team implementing the project must manage the paradox of urgency and the need for time to move the lines: decompartmentalizing professional cultures, changing practices to meet the challenges of ecological, social and institutional crises.

It is a question of working on the conditions for perpetuating this new economic model, its understanding and appropriation by the various stakeholders and being able to mobilise funding outside city contracts to extend the project (e.g. the Region’s experimental training project).

Lessons learned, perspectives?

On the basis of these 2 experiences, the dissemination project has been strengthened within the framework of the protocol of reciprocal commitments and reinforced by the objectives of the City Contract with the ambition to support the emergence of new forms of activities based on the skills, know-how and interests of the inhabitants of the city’s political districts, to support the inhabitants in identifying their skills, to encourage the emergence of collective projects and the experimentation of new forms of activities and jobs and zero-unemployment territory type schemes.

In operational terms, it is a question of perpetuating and developing the means of the ANDESS activity cooperative.

From the point of view of the role of urban social development professionals, this has made it possible to highlight the importance of facilitation and decompartmentalization logics, the support of partners to develop their practice and the interest of building an experimental framework.


  • « Économie de la contribution et innovation sociétale », Philippe Béraud and Franck Cormerais, in Innovations 2011/1 (no. 34), pages 163 to 183.

  • Journées des territoires 2019 « Acting without suffering: territories take up the ecological and social challenge » on 25 and 26 November in Paris - Workshop « New economic models? »

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