On Friday, December 10th, the Cathay Capital Foundation’s French Dream 2.0 project inauguration ceremony was held in the salons of the Hôtel Groslot in Orléans to celebrate its new phase of development by associating with and supporting the creation of a local branch of Proxité, an association aiming at accompanying young people from disadvantaged areas towards academic and professional success.
The ceremony took place in the presence of several elected officials from the Orleans City Council and Metropolis, the Cathay Capital management team, Proxité representatives and volunteers already involved.
The genesis of a key project of the Cathay Capital Foundation
The “French Dream” project was created a little over 6 years ago by Mingpo Cai, Chairman, Founder and CEO of Cathay Capital and his son Victor. This project aims to support high school students from unprivileged backgrounds and inspire them to open their horizons and develop their potential through a mentoring system involving volunteers from the business world.
Why in Orléans?
The project came to light in Orléans because of Mingpo Cai’s attachment to this city where he set foot at the age of 20, where he studied, where his children were born, where he created his first company, where he had the idea of founding Cathay Capital and where he has spent a large part of his life.
Over the past few years, several dozens of high school students in Orléans – mainly from the La Source district – have been supported through the Cathay Foundation French Dream project through its mentoring activities, meetings with entrepreneurs, and visits to industrial sites and cultural venues.
French Dream 2.0: A new stage for French Dream with Proxité
Following this first experience, the Cathay Capital Foundation wanted to further structure its approach and reinforce the impact of the French Dream project by giving it an additional dimension.
Mingpo Cai and Gwenn Delamaire from Cathay Capital met Sébastien Lailheugue, Managing Director of Proxité, an association dedicated to accompanying young people towards success. Since its creation, it has supported over 5,000 young people, thanks to more than 1,400 volunteers and 36 branches in France.
That’s when the idea of bringing together initiatives and pooling forces was born, by financing the creation of a Proxité branch in Orléans, developing the French Dream project by connecting with local resources and involving a growing number of high schools, mentors, companies, etc.
The Cathay Capital Foundation and Proxité agree that mentoring is a powerful tool for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome their encountered difficulties throughout their academic and professional careers.
Mentoring is a simple, but powerful way to ensure the integration of young people, especially those from immigrant backgrounds, to contribute to the consolidation of social ties and to fight against stereotypes and prejudices.
An essential local presence
In concrete terms, 32 student/mentor pairs in Orléans have already been accompanied by Proxité since the beginning of the school year in September, thanks to the driving force of Carl-Erik Emschwiller, a teacher at the Jean Lurçat High School in Fleury-les-Aubrais, and the support of the school’s principal, Jean-Pierre Dorval.
Solenn, a student at the Jean Lurçat High School, and her mentor Mikael Rouveyrol, a business manager at Société Générale, had the opportunity to share their experience and explain what the project had brought them both since it started.
An initiative that resonated with the elected officials of Orléans. Gérard Gautier, Deputy City Councillor to the Mayor of Orléans in charge of the recovery plan, professional training and crisis recovery matters, welcomed the project and shared his own experience as a mentor.
Pascal Tebibel, Vice-President of Orléans Métropole in charge of economic attractiveness, major economic projects and the digital economy, reminded the audience of the importance of initiatives such as French Dream in bringing together companies, public players and citizens.
Alexandre Houssard, Deputy City Councillor to the Mayor, in charge of territorial marketing, public procurement, partnerships, decentralized cooperation, the French-speaking world and relations with associations of elected officials, thanked Mingpo Cai for his sincere and faithful commitment to the city of Orléans and its youth.