Interview with Alain Barbier, president of SEED Foundation
In 2009, Alain Barbier launched SEED Foundation with its partners.
Feedback on the creation of the Fund
“The company Pierson Export has always worked in Africa. I myself had worked in Africa in my previous experiences and it always seemed to that when one works with Africa and has the means to do it, one must act for this continent. And so for 15 years, before SEED Foundation was created, I made individual actions while including one of my Spanish supplier in some African countries as we set up for example a dispensary in Cameroon we sent a container of medicines and beds to hospitals in Benin.
But in Africa nothing is simple because it takes a long time and it is very difficult to be sure that all the goods shipped arrive at their destination. So at some point, especially when there was the creation of endowment funds – because the juridical process is much more flexible – we seized the opportunity because we thought it was time to structure our actions. We decided to recruit one person and then a second to take care of this endowment fund.”
A collective initiative
Because “unity is strength” and everyone can act, PIERSON EXPORT wanted this Endowment Fund to be a collective, business oriented, and international initiative. By offering its partners to take part in this adventure, PIERSON EXPORT wished to allow them to feel concerned and want to get involved, to join forces for a common response to the challenges of hunger and poverty.
An international approach with all its collaborators
Alain Barbier involves his teams in projects to promote local resources of African terroirs. The SME devotes 0.2% of its turnover to philanthropic actions, ie a budget of 80,000 to 100,000 euros per year.
“I wish not to limit our trade with the African continent in economic relations. Our sales team travel on the continent two to four times a year to ensure the visibility of the brands we distribute. We extend these trips to visit projects,” explains Alain Barbier.
To have a stronger and more lasting impact on the ground, he created SEED Foundation in 2009, an endowment fund that combines the financial resources and expertise of a dozen small and micro businesses and supports agricultural development and family in Africa.