A MakeSense Gangster has just started a tour from Istanbul to Morocco through Europe to help green entrepreneurs implement their ideas
They are young, enthusiastic, switched on, connected and creative and they believe they can change the world. They are the MakeSense Gangsters. MakeSense is a growing global community whose 800 members, known as Gangsters, help social entrepreneurs solve their challenges through their skills, knowledge, creativity and connections.
At only 23 Joris Depouillon, a young change maker from Ghent, Belgium, can speak 5 languages, is engaged in environmental issues, and has already hitchhiked around Europe. He has decided to join forces with MakeSense with the aim of helping green entrepreneurs solve their problems and of being supported to start his own sustainable business. How is he going to do it? Hitchhiking from Istanbul to Morocco passing through Greece, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, France and Spain. In October he hitchhiked from Belgium to Istanbul starting the 300 days Tour, called Green Sense Tour, a project supported by Make Sense.
Vita Europe has met him to talk about the Tour.
-What is the mission of the Tour?
To open 5 new MakeSense local chapters, called hotspots, find 150 challenges of sustainable entrepreneurs, and for 5 of these challenges implement the solution by myself during one month. So, my mission is to help sustainable entrepreneurs and, as I also have the mission of creating a green business of my own, I would like to gain experience, skills and a network to start my own sustainable business.
-How does the Tour work in practice?
I am going to organize MakeSense Hold-ups, creativity workshops to solve specific social entrepreneurs’ challenges, and SenseDrinks, informal meetings of Gangsters and social entrepreneurship enthusiasts. I will also interview social entrepreneurs asking them about their challenges. These challenges will be posted on our website, so that everyone can connect and solve them.
I have decided not to fly because flying is very harmful for the environment. Also, hitchhiking you meet many interesting people you otherwise would have never had the chance to meet. It is also a good solution if you have a limited budget.
-How are you financed?
I am self financed.
–Why did you decide to help green entrepreneurs?
I think one of the main challenges the world is facing today is climate change and that it is everyone's responsibility to help building a better world. When in Istanbul for my Erasmus period (2011-2012) , I engaged in the green sector. Together with a group of people I created a second had shopping guide of Istanbul. The Turkish capital does not have environmental awareness, there is no bike sharing, no recycling in the city… but there are lots of second hand shops. So that was a good starting point. I also organized a walking tour of the second hand shops which was participated by 150 people.
–What followed the Istanbul experience?
Coming back to Belgium from Istanbul after the Erasmus period, I started a student gardening association and now I am working as a consultant for Yesilist, the Turkish platform for sustainable living and consumption.
-What is your personal mission?
I want to start a green enterprise that tackles food waste. In Belgium I went dumpster diving and saw that so much food was wasted and that many meals could have been prepared out of all of this food.
Then when I was in the UK I got to know Rubies in the Rubble: they make chutney and jam from surplus fruits and vegetables before they’re discarded. Besides using surplus food they also employ vulnerable people. The idea I have for my own project is of a business which, like Rubies in the Rubble, both contributes to a better environment and to the well-being of people.