Meet Amazing Copassers: Manon & the African Clean Energy Project

We met Manon through Copass on a whim. She was looking for a place to stay upon visiting and coworking for a few days in Paris, and little did she know that she would find one of the best hosts in the city – Augustin, one of our very own! She used Copass to find him, and then met us at Mutinerie for a chat about her nomadic travels across Europe to promote her amazing African Clean Energy project. Check out what she has to say about her work, her travels and her time as one of our amazing Copassers!

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Hi Manon! Could you start by introducing yourself?

Yes, of course! Well, my name is Manon, a very French name for a very Dutch girl! I am based in Amsterdam, where I am part of the company ‘Teach to Fish’. We support people with their crowdfunding campaigns through workshops, crowd acceleration programmes, and building campaigns alongside with clients, like now with African clean energy. We work from the beautiful Impact Hub in Amsterdam.

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Okay, cool! And why are you travelling around Europe now?

To gain attention for the Kickstarter campaign for the awesome smokeless cookstove of African Clean Energy! Since we’re based in the Netherlands, our Dutch campaign is going pretty well, because that’s where the biggest part of our network is. But for the Kickstarter we need to activate people worldwide. So I hit the road, to build on my international network! I believe in the power of offline connections over just only connections. Because I am a member of Impact Hub in Amsterdam, I am using the Impact Hub network to go around. This makes it easy to connect to local people in the different places I go. This will, I hope, be more effective to activate people to join the campaign and to spread the word than when I would do it from my laptop in Amsterdam.

What do you usually plan when you go to a city? Before you go?

The more I travel, the less I plan! I love to stay with local people, so I try to find someone that can host me. Usually I don’t plan what I want to do and go see the place I am visiting. I just go and see, I love that! The surprise is the best part.

Can you tell us what you’ve been doing since you arrived here in Paris?

Yeah! I’ve been staying at a lovely place with a great garden (thanks Augustin)! Also, I’ve been visiting different coworking spaces, met up with one of the founders of ImpactHub Paris, been wandering around the city, cycled through it as well in the middle of the night on the cool Velib bicycles), and met a lot of wonderful people! I also went to a conference in the fancy Hotel de Ville, ‘Convergences’, which was interesting. I came across a couple of inspiring food initiatives there. And of course, talking to a lot of people about our campaign.

I was wondering, do you have any idea how many people you’ve met and you’ve been talking about your project with since you arrived in Paris? (-ish?)

Around 50-60? I arrived on Sunday, so this is within five days. And online as well. Connecting to my new followers and people that favourite my tweets.

So now, I have to ask, how do you think Copass can help you in what you’re doing?

I really love Copass! For me, it is an addition to my ImpactHub network. They are not in every city yet, so combining both networks is great. And it’s inspiring to see other spaces as well, like Mutinerie and La Ruche. You have quite a lot of nice spaces listed already, and I absolutely love the feature of also finding hosts at the coworking spaces! Which works (yes!) because I found you! With all these great listed spaces and hosts to find, I’m not sure I will be going back to Amsterdam any time soon!

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And so where are you going next?

Geneva, to the ImpactHub there, which is pre-launching now.

And then, do you have an idea?

I am planning to go to Zurich, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastian. Yeah, it is a pretty awesome worktrip!

Thank you so much for all this! And good luck on the rest of your trip and your crowdfunding campaign!

We love the smokeless stove Manon is promoting. If you’re interested, it would be great if you support her and the people that really need a stove right here!

Michael Melia

Chief of Communications & Community Building at Copass
Michael is an anthropology PhD student at the University of Oxford. A new team member at Copass, you'll see him copassing in Paris, London, Oxford and beyond.

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