Entrepreneur Eva Sadun publishes in Actes Sud Our own economy – changing perspective to redefine the rules of the gameessay in manifesto form. At 31, the author is a co-founder of the investment platform LITA.co and a spokesperson for the Impact France Movement for the Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS).
As an entrepreneur, you are one of the representatives of responsible finance. Why did you start writing this essay?
I started with the etymology of economics, the idea of organizing society. We built it to organize our social relationships, “our common home”. Today it no longer has that role, we are subject to the economic decisions made by our leaders. I draw a parallel with the concept “private room” used by the American writer Virginia Woolf. In this house, we townspeople, women, small investors, are stuck on the landing…
We are talking about the limited place of the economy in educational trajectories. There is a class prism in the teaching of economics, where some are eligible for hands-on learning, while others in mainstream political science or business schools have more “meta” teaching, global reflections, but not related to real realities. By continuing to apply some conflicting principles to economics, we hide specific consequences. For example, Okun’s law, according to which the link between growth and employment no longer works, the link between innovation and wealth has not been systematic for decades.
You condemn the low place of women in capitalism. How did we get here?
Capitalism as it functions today is centralized, patriarchal, and relies on the accumulation of capital as an end in itself, not a tool. In families, women inherit less capital. The rules of investment and finance were developed by bourgeois and elitist people. Those who do not meet this standard do not find themselves in these values, in the values of performance and dominance. Our community at LITA.co has 33% female investors, which is above the usual average. Without essentializing women, they want to understand where the money goes and are more closed to “structured products”. Them investment vision is more sustainable and more social. I am driven by the values of ecofeminism, the fact of living with the living, not dominating it.
However, women have always participated in the economy, even if they were invisible in history, their theories were adopted by men. I give examples of Rosa Luxembourg, Susan Strange, Irene Julio-Curie, Lena Walker, and others. We do not associate women with the economy, this is the area that men find it most difficult to let go. Among the personalities most interviewed in the media, only 1% concerns women from the economic environment!
Why did you want to start LITA.co, a social investment platform, in 2014?
I was disappointed by the non-transparent functioning of the financial community, based on speculative bubbles, at a time when we need money to finance the energy transition. With LITA.co we wanted to support clean energy, agriculture, technology for good, social housing, economic integration and decarbonization of companies.
I remember a few years ago the big banks slipped us a hint of contempt for the fact that the general public should not care about their own savings. We have developed LITA.co as a financial education tool for those who want to understand the real path of their euros in the bank.
Why did you choose the SSE point of view and not the anti-capitalist one?
I don’t recognize myself in ideologies. I don’t see how to save money without a company, that’s the specific form it takes. Financial or other innovations are funded not by institutions but by investment funds, especially when funds are needed for growth. It is only through them that breakthrough innovations can pass today, even if we may regret it. Being an entrepreneur is a complex, challenging, and inspiring exercise. But a company can be a lever for environmental protection, not destruction.
We have held three fundraisers with LITA.co, Phitrust, INCO Invest, Aviva Impact Investing and BPI. We now have 60 employees and they also want us to grow to continue our mission of reconnecting savings with the real economy. However, I don’t believe in a “technical solution” either. To contribute to the preservation of the environment, it will also be necessary to reduce energy consumption. I believe in the combination of innovation and sobriety.
What are the investors’ motivations at LITA.co?
With us, investments are open to everyone from 100 euros to 2.5 million, even if the average basket is around 3000 euros. The first motivation of these people is the social or environmental impact of their financial investments for 75% of them. Then some are interested in tax deductions for this type of investment (from 18% to 25% for income tax – ed.). Finally, they want to take part in an entrepreneurial adventure to support the real economy.
Profitability comes later: our clients agree to a profit of 3 to 7%, depending on the chosen activity. Among the projects supported and approved by the investment committee and institutions are Rogervoice, an app that allows people with hearing impairments to make phone calls, or Etic, a commercial property rental company with moderate rents and environmental quality, or Velcorex, which brings textiles to life. industry in France. In total, we have raised 90 million euros paid out to 180 companies thanks to 33,000 investments. We go further, the topic becomes more democratic.