Imaginations Fertiles & le FIL

Déniché pour vous 123 file

September 2023

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

The « Déniché pour Vous » files have been developed by the RTES. They present local initiatives in France, their environment, their purpose and their development, with particular emphasis on the role of local authorities. Whether the initiatives focus on the energy transition, shared spaces, the circular economy, food, sustainable mobility, immigration or digital technology, these case studies offer an instructive immersion in the field of local social innovation.

A long-standing player in the ecosystem of third places and social design in Toulouse and Occitanie since 2012, SCIC les Imaginations Fertiles has developed and now runs a third place in the heart of the Mirail district of Toulouse: Le FIL (Façonneur d’Innovation Local). Co-sponsored by the SCIC IF (Imaginations Fertiles) and ETIC-Foncière Responsable, this third-party centre is designed and run as a development tool for the area and its neighbourhood. It encourages the exchange of skills and the development of collective projects between people involved in social innovation, crafts, design, local residents, local authorities and local businesses.

To download : fiche_deniche_pour_vous_n_123_-_les_if_et_le_fil.pdf (630 KiB)

Origin and presentation of the initiative

FIL (Façonneur d’Innovations Locales), Toulouse Métropole’s totem of SSE and social innovation, is run by the SCIC Les Imaginations Fertiles (IF) and the property company ETIC, and is located in the Bellefontaine priority district of Toulouse. Awarded the Pôle Territorial de Coopération Economique (PTCE), Fabrique de territoire and Manufacture de proximité label, the aim of this third-location centre is to contribute to the neighbourhood’s local vitality and promote community life, integration and employment. It will also enable the re-establishment of innovative economic activities, with more than 30 SSE and craft industry players and 200 jobs on site.

When the IF project was launched in 2010, 4 founders wanted to create a place where SSE companies, craftspeople and creative people could work together and develop their skills. A prefiguration association led to the creation of a SCIC in 2013, in connection with their response to the 1st Call for Expressions of Interest (AMI) PTCE, and when they moved into a former industrial wasteland that was to become one of Toulouse’s 1st third places. The temporary occupation of this site came to an end in 2017, when the building was put up for sale by its owner.

Looking for a new location, SCIC IF realised that, of the 30 coworking and shared spaces in the city, none was located in a priority urban neighbourhood. Eager to respond to an unmet need, they decided to look for a space in an inner-city area, and discovered one right next to the metro in the Bellefontaine district of Toulouse.

This was the start of the creation of the new third-location centre, FIL (Façonneur d’Innovations Locales). SCIC IF began by carrying out a feasibility study, financed by the Banque des territoires and Toulouse Métropole. As the site had been sold to a developer, the local authority pre-empted the building and the Établissement Public Foncier (EPF) acquired it. At the same time, SCIC IF set up a financial study with ETIC, a real estate company, with a view to buying the building, and Etic set up a dedicated SCI, Toulouse B. With the support of the ANRU, the Occitanie Region and the Toulouse metropolitan area, the SCI bought the building and carried out the renovation work on this site of high heritage value, the whole project representing a budget of 5.5 million euros. Finally, SCIC IF signed a 12-year lease with SCI to occupy, run and manage certain areas of the 2,300 m² site.

Today, FIL consists of offices, a coworking space, production workshops for craftspeople and an events room, as well as space rented out to other organisations, a highly multi-disciplinary approach that fosters social innovation.

SCIC IF wants to create a place that combines SSE activities and crafts, that is open to the neighbourhood and in touch with its residents. At the same time, it provides support for other third places (training, engineering, involvement in the regional and national network of third places, etc.) and offers services in service design and support for social innovations.

Business model and links with local authorities

The links between SCIC IF, FIL and Toulouse Métropole are very close. Before 2017 and SCIC IF’s move, the Metropole was already one of their partners, providing them with rent support for the old venue. When SCIC IF moved to a new location in 2017, Métropole helped to finance the feasibility study, supported FIL through its urban policy and played a key role in pre-empting the building (by having its EPF buy it) and then supporting the acquisition and work carried out by the SCI, alongside the ANRU (€800,000) and the Occitanie Region. The Metropole also regularly invests in the premises, with Toulouse Métropole’s SSE and city policies departments regularly teleworking at FIL.

All of this is in line with axis 5 « Supporting and promoting SSE totem places » of its SSE strategy, under which Toulouse Métropole supports the establishment of SSE third places in the region.

Toulouse Métropole provides financial support for the running of the third-party centre via its SSE policy, and for the running of the neighbourhood via its urban policy. In addition to its involvement in the district, SCIC IF coordinates the SSE events programme of the « Toulouse Métropole Impact » collective, helping to run the network under the guidance of the local authority.

There are also links with Toulouse Métropole Emploi on the integration clause. A deconstruction site was set up to recover materials, and many young people from the neighbourhood worked on the deconstruction, with associated training. The contract included small lots to enable local businesses to bid (with support from the Première Brique support scheme).

Key figures