The head of innovation at Audencia, Valérie Claude-Gaudillat, has lived and travelled in various entrepreneurial ecosystems right across the globe. Spotlight on Silicon Valley, Shenzhen and Israel.
Is Silicon Valley still THE hub for technological innovation?
Valérie Claude-Gaudillat: Silicon Valley continues to fascinate… and rightly so. Last January, I was fortunate enough to accompany our students on a learning trip to the US, organised by the Audencia Foundation. I shared in their enthusiasm and partook in everything they came away from this visit with. Global stability on matters relating to innovation is undergoing a paradigm shift. We are entering an age where two major centres of technological innovation will coexist: one in Silicon Valley in California and the other in Shenzhen.
So, is Shenzhen now the new Silicon Valley?
Valérie Claude-Gaudillat: There is no doubt about this. Shenzhen is China’s tech capital. Around companies like Huawei, Tencent or DJI, you will find all the key ingredients conducive to technological innovation. The Chinese take a broad view on innovation, with both products and services and their strong appetite for all things new. With SABS (Shenzhen Audencia Business School), Audencia has established itself nicely into one of the world’s most innovative and dynamic areas. For our students and alumni, this represents a superb source of opportunities.
There has been a lot of talk of Israel and the quality of the academic network there.
Valérie Claude-Gaudillat: If we just look to the size of the country, then its productivity and research is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Academic standards are outstanding with institutions such as Technion, the Weizmann Institute and also the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. What’s more, it is a veritable start-up nation where start-ups need to go global very early on, for lack of a domestic or regional market.
So, what about France in all this?
Valérie Claude-Gaudillat: The culture of entrepreneurship has come on in leaps and bounds. That said, do we really have the driving forces required for tomorrow’s economy? This is doubtful. However, let’s remain upbeat as initiatives are underway: the Saclay cluster, with the remarkable coming together of academic and scientific institutions, may lead to some wonderful advances. Station F, the start-up factory in the heart of Paris, also looks very promising, especially if start-ups manage to get over the scale-up hurdle and go on to create jobs, added value, technological expertise and economic vitality. The SMEs/SMIs may also help spur entrepreneurship and job creation to add value as long as we provide them with some smart mentoring. Of course, there are also some real gems coming out of our Centrale-Audencia-Ensa incubator!
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Entrepreneurship doesn’t all revolve around Silicon Valley in the US. Some new “places to be” are emerging on the world stage and on the Asian Continent in particular. Lamia Hassene and Bertrand Del Grande, currently on an internship in Hong Kong, have both studied at SABS (Shenzhen Audencia Business School), a favourable environment for inspiring them to start their own company.
For his part, Bertrand has managed to spot a gap in the market for dairy products:
“In Asia, there’s a deep distrust of locally produced brands, especially following the infant milk scandal which affected the sector around ten years ago. My goal is to create and establish a “made in France” brand of milk for the Asian market.”
The 23-year-old is starting his entrepreneurial venture in Hong Kong, before breaking into the markets in Taiwan or Singapore, performance permitting.
"As one of our Audencia professors used to say, things can move fast in this region: the number of investors almost outweighs the number of projects up for funding. It’s just a case of spotting the right opportunities."
As for Lamia, she has gone into producing organic cosmetics which are made from natural Moroccan products. The official unveiling of her “Kernel” brand is in two months’ time.
“The products will be available on an e-commerce website and also in pop-up stores in Hong Kong: it’s a great place to start up,” Lamia tells us. “There are so many places out here to get new products out, like the exhibition centre or at the airport for instance. They do everything they can to encourage enterprise.”
And so, this young woman has jumped right into this extremely buoyant market:
“The Chinese have very little confidence in the cosmetics which their own brands produce. In Hong Kong droves of potential customers come along every week-end to discover all the new products.”
With this former British territory constituting a real cosmetics “hub”, at a later stage China stands to become her patch to canvass for hot new business.
Jordi Soude (SciencesCom 07), Editor
How do you spot a promising start-up to invest in?
Benjamin Le Pendeven: First and foremost, you should probably already be on the radar of these budding companies. It’s important to bear in mind that great start-ups actually get to pick and choose their investors. It’s them in the driving seat and not the other way around! If your vision is to become a shareholder of a successful business and you have a good track record and your added value from investors is high, then start-ups will seek you out. Therefore, the first hurdle is to be in a position to attract the best of the entrepreneurial crop. Next, you should evaluate the factors that contribute to the success of the company: a quality entrepreneurial team boasting a range of complementary skills who have what it takes to help the company structure grow; a market where the business has room to make its mark; an effective business model to take advantage of the market in question.
Does having a sixth sense come in useful when investing?
Benjamin Le Pendeven: Being a good investor isn’t a skill you’re born with. You acquire it over time, through learning from your peers or by receiving training, which is why we have recently set up our Audencia Business Angel Academy, in partnership with the Sowefund platform. It’s important to have a few basic skills in financial analysis and legal matters, together with a good network and grasp of the markets. This doesn’t leave much room for fortuitous improvisation! Of course, there is an element of luck but no sixth sense. What’s more, investors sometimes don’t think things through when it comes to what’s known as ‘the exit’. Now, the challenge here is to invest in a company which will allow you to sell your shares on at a profit. It’s important to make plans for a few years down the line and think about your exit strategy.
Is it a good idea to have specific knowledge in the area?
Benjamin Le Pendeven: Academic studies in America have revealed that expert investors outperform non-specialised investors. This isn’t the norm in finance, but the premium permitted by sector-based specialisation is higher than the premium from diversifying by sector. If you are specialised in automotives, sailing or the like, then you will soon become aware of the majority of start-ups in the sector, what’s happening in the industry, potential buyers, the market structures and so forth. This gives you professional insight so it follows that you make smarter choices.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Although a lack of experience is often seen to curb entrepreneurship, more and more young people are deciding to have a go at starting their own business. An illustration of this can be seen in Katia Paré’s professional journey, a 2018 Grande Ecole graduate who admits to being drawn to management and the agri-food business very early on. At the age of 25, this young woman has launched her own start-up, specialising in the production and marketing of 16 natural and organic products for breakfast, teatime snacks and aperitifs under the Bam&Co brand. Her pledge: to deliver gourmet recipes which are free from additives and preservatives, together with a colourful brand image. The product line is currently sold in delicatessens and bars and also fits perfectly into coworking spaces and companies. What’s more, with business booming, she isn’t planning on stopping there. Following a campaign on the Ulule platform, proving to be a tremendous hit generating over 1,600 pre-sales against a targeted 400, the company has decided to think big! Her view for the long term is to target the mass retail market. The next step, after Paris where she calls home and where her manufacturing workshop has been established, will soon be to break into the French market, before focussing on Europe (Belgium, etc...).
Another world, another profile
Though Katia Paré has opted for crowdfunding, other innovative funding methods exist, like venture capital. Chloé Zirah is all too familiar with this subject. As of last January, the 23-year-old student joined the Paris-based innovation platform Lafayette Plug and Play which, since 2016, has taken a keen interest in issues relating to retail and e-commerce in Europe, with a sharp focus on two distinct activities. Firstly: investment.
“As a “Venture Analyst”, alongside my manager, I am in charge of investing seed vouchers, worth between €50k and €250k, into retailtech start-ups in need of funding.”
Chloé Zirah is moving in an ecosystem which is committed to the spurring on of businesses as well as fostering synergies between start-ups who offer BtoB solutions (tools for parcel tracking, marketing optimisation and more) and large retailers, like Carrefour, who “have an obligation to innovate and reinvent themselves digitally if they are to survive while up against these “pure players” online.” Her role? To spot start-ups who are able to meet this need for innovation. This is a world that lies at the intersection of curiosity, rigour and proactivity.
Florence Falvy, Editor
This year marks the return of another of our “alumni challenges” which is set to take place as part of the Audencia - La Baule Triathlon being held next September.
“Our initial experience of this challenge goes back some seven or eight years,” explains Flavie Lorre, President of Audencia Alumni. “We are now looking to bring it bang on trend in order to invite alumni, both pro and amateur athletes alike, to take part in this highly federating event.”
This way, some 60 Audencia graduates will be able to take on this challenge:
“Twenty places have been set aside for teams of three in the “tri relais”: the spirit in the camp is to team up seasoned triathletes alongside our less sporty participants who might never have thought of taking part,” Flavie adds. “The triathlon requires a blend of competition, daring and humanity. These values are a good reflection of those held by the school.”
The challenge will also be a way for some of you to reconnect with Audencia and meet up with some of your former classmates, as is the case for Tanguy Jacob (Exec MBA 11), himself a regular on the Triathlon circuit, who year-on-year rallies together his former peers to take part in the relay.
“Ordinarily, we manage to make up three teams, this year however, our class year is mixing with alumni from the Class of 2013,” Tanguy explains.
It will be a time for Audencia alumni to meet up, be they athletes or supporters:
“There was some great chemistry in this class year and we always have a really good time when we get together, whether during the Triathlon or on various other occasions.” What’s more, some of the participants also decide to fly solo, but that won’t be the case for Tanguy this year: “The Audencia Triathlon has become a victim of its own success, you have to be sitting right in front of your computer screen when the online registration opens. Two hours later and you’ve missed the boat!”
So, see you later this year on 21 and 22 September for the 32nd edition of the Audencia - La Baule Triathlon.
Jordi Soude (SciencesCom 07), Editor
COMFactory is a think-tank workshop where attendees get to share ideas on communications services and changing trends within the sector. Every year, the project leads on to an interactive presentation featuring a panorama of technological, societal and economic impacts affecting communications.
Work carried out by third-year students (5 years of studies post-Baccalauréat exams) specialising in “Corporate & Institutional Communication” is enriched thanks to the many discussions they have with communications experts. Throughout this new edition, the students were given the opportunity to exchange viewpoints with:
Fruitful discussions abound on many different levels
In addition to a working knowledge of communications, COMFactory enables students to compare their points of view with industry professionals who have on-the-ground experience.
Not to be outdone, the communication experts get to mingle with the students so as to understand their perspectives, giving them the chance to bounce ideas off a new generation of communicators.
“As a 2016 Audencia SciencesCom graduate and also an expert in digital communication, I had the opportunity of working on the COMFactory project as a student back during the 2016 edition. It’s a great activity for students, enabling them to think towards the future, swap ideas with professionals in the field, and get a grasp of what the future holds for their chosen profession. Personally speaking, I found this workshop helped give me a vocational focus to my studies, as it provides a setting for you to test out the things you’ve been learning day in, day out throughout the programme. All in all, it’s a project that helps you gain a sense of perspective, just a few weeks before the end of the course!”, says Lauranne Heaume.
Lauranne Heaume, on behalf of the Audencia Communication Team
In April, 60 students following the classe préparatoire (classes preparing students for the competitive exams for entry to the elite French grandes écoles), came along to the school to see all that Audencia has to offer. Featuring on the programme over these 8 days of visits: meetups with the current students and a chance to sit in on first-year marketing or law classes, as well as time spent exploring the city of Nantes. This event also offered them the opportunity to become acquainted with our extensive network of 26,000 alumni and find out about initiatives offered here at the school. There are certainly plenty to choose from!
Featuring among them was Audencia Around The World. This round-the-world trip in eight days took place in March, 2019. It was an extravaganza of 31 events, spanning 25 countries, over 5 continents, which resulted in the forging of ever stronger links between our alumni communities. This very first edition certainly pulled out all the stops!
Another of our events to whet the appetite of our potential new recruits: the Learning Trip to the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Silicon Valley. This project, totally spearheaded, funded and organised by alumni, enabled six of our students to dive into the world of tech. Once again, this trip succeeded in forging closer bonds between our students and alumni.
Following its success in Nantes, NegoTraining has at last arrived in Paris! Their first ever Parisian workshop was recently held on the Paris campus on 18 April, and was especially put on for our Audencia alumni. With a total of 40 alumni from all class year generations in attendance, the event proved quite a hit!
During the three-hour session, where everyone was made to feel at ease, Dr Christine Naschberger let alumni in on some of her keys to the art of wage negotiation. Naturally, pay is an integral part of a successful negotiation but so is variable pay, flexi-time, fringe benefits, access to training and more besides. NegoTraining is an important part of Audencia’s commitment to improving gender equality in the workplace.
As of 2017, Audencia’s Chair CSR has teamed up with women’s networks and actors on the CSR Platform from the metropolitan area of Nantes to provide a support programme which is provided free of charge. What’s more, these modules are having a very encouraging impact! In the space of a year, 1,000 women have benefitted from this free training and are now armed with the enhanced negotiation skills they need.
The figures speak for themselves, as 6 months post-training, over half of the women had taken part in negotiations. A total 52 % were awarded a pay rise (38 %), or received a bonus (14 %); 13 % were granted flexi-time (9 %), or benefitted from job perks (4 %). Only 9% of all the women entering negotiations came away from talks empty handed.
There is still a massive gender gap but, by stepping up the number of NegoTraining workshops, Audencia is endeavouring to contribute towards turning things around.
Géraldine Lance, Editor
The IDxA conference promised us an evening of daring and clearly this event, held on 16 May at the Floralies Exhibition Centre in Nantes, didn’t fail to deliver. According to alumni members in attendance at this very first edition on the theme of “Explorers braving all”, they remained true to their word.
Much to our delight, four of them rose to the challenge of presenting their imaginative ways of exploring the world.
Christine Brunier (GE 80). At the age of 51, she and her husband decide to leave everything behind and head off to Cameroon to take care of a bush hospital for two years. However, as she puts it herself: “Nothing predestined me for this, I just felt this calling to be of greater service. With no water or electricity and living out in the sticks in the middle of a forest, this turned out to be a radical change in lifestyle.” On their return, Christine is a changed person: “There was definitely a before and after.”
Nonso Chukwuma (IMM 13). Originally from Nigeria, he studies medicine there “to please his parents”. At the age of 26, it’s time for a life change so he enrols on a course at Audencia, even though he doesn’t speak French. One year later and he is at the head of his own company, called Chooka. “It was hard but it is do-able. You come across a few hurdles, you just have to get over them, get past them and reach for your dreams.” What advice does he offer, “Reach for the moon, fall amongst the stars!”
Océane Lenoir (IMM 11). At the age of 29, Océane ups anchor and sails across the Atlantic on board a 12-metre-long sailing boat with her husband. “Such a voyage requires a lot of forward planning, but leaving room for the unexpected is rather exciting. Anyone can be an explorer. If you have a dream then go after it, you can make it happen!"
These testimonies struck a chord with Matthieu Tordeur, the youngest member of the Society of French Explorers. At the age of 27, he has already braved some of the most extreme weather conditions and travelled to over 90 different countries. He has just returned from an expedition to the South Pole, making him the first French person to have reached this point alone, without any assistance and all the time managing to remain completely self-sufficient: 1,150 km in 51 days, on the go 8 to 12 hours per day, in temperatures plummeting down to -50°.
As a child, he dreamt of becoming Tintin. He describes himself as being, more driven by the fear of regret than the fear of failure.
What’s the most challenging thing in any expedition? “Taking that first step. When you have a project, talk about it, that helps you commit to it. We are constantly coming up with excuses, the more you think about it, the less you actually get on and do it! At the time when I was first starting out on my expeditions, I was a student so I didn’t have much money but I chose to just go ahead and do it anyway.”
Matthieu Tordeur rounded up his talk with the following message: “Life is either a bold business or nothing at all! It’s too short not to live your dreams, so dare to dare!” A lovely nod to Audencia and its catchphrase of “Never stop daring!”
These are no ordinary professional journeys, yet they were so clearly presented that one can but look on with admiration. So, who’s turn is it next?
If you’d like to find out:
With the exceptional participation of Michaël Jeremiasz : quadruple Paralympic medallist, flag bearer for the French team at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and author of the book entitled “Ma vie un sport de combat” (“My life is a combat sport”).
Amandine Luce, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni Team
With a date set for 12 October 2019, Audencia’s inaugural Homecoming Day is to be held here at the school, in the exact place which saw you making your very own memories, in Nantes. On the programme: emotional reunions in store for an expected 300 alumni who will be joining in on their class year celebrations.
Homecoming Day is set to become a major annual gathering for alumni from right across Audencia’s range of programmes and you too are invited to join in your 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th and ever 25th or 40th class anniversary, as part of this unprecedented and altogether prestigious event.
Calling the Classes of 2018, 2014, 2009, 2004, 1999, 1994… remember to save the date! See you here in Nantes, on 12 October this year, to experience this showstopping and unmissable event bringing peers back together on home turf, in the company of Christophe Germain, Dean of Audencia and Flavie Lorre (GE 98), President of Audencia Alumni, together with many of the iconic figures who have proved instrumental to your career path.
Audencia Homecoming Day gives us the ideal way of celebrating class year anniversaries in fitting style and with greater scope. Indeed, many of the world’s finest institutions are following suit. The event will be held on school campus with a host of familiar faces and places stirring up fond memories. Our Homecoming Day is going all out as it endeavours to pave the way for emotional reunions, meetups with current undergraduates and the chance to rediscover the all-new Audencia in all its finery, offering you a golden opportunity to reconnect with both your alumni network and your school. What’s more, as having a wealth of personal choices and profiles go to make up the greatest asset of any network, this day will also give attendees the chance to share their own memories and experiences during what promises to be a prestigious and convivial occasion, one packed full of surprises and new discoveries.
We are expecting a turnout of 300 alumni who are invited to gather together in the emblematic Edit de Nantes (Edict of Nantes) auditorium for the day’s official inauguration. This should take them straight back to their memories of past times spent studying while sitting on those very seats. However, there are no plans to allow ourselves to get too caught up in nostalgia! The format for Homecoming Day will be paced with activities focusing on both the past and the future, taking you on a journey to the very heart of your school for an immersive and lively experience helping you to (re)discover the places and faces which made lasting impressions on you during your student years.
Audencia Homecoming Day will draw to a close in an exceptional setting located on the Ile de Nantes, in a location which for the moment remains a closely guarded secret. This has all the hallmarks of a stunning and memorable evening. Not-to-be-missed!
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
For Laurène Hamilton, this entrepreneurial flame was ignited on the birth of her first child in 2016. She had been living in New York for three years, when she began to hanker after a life where she could live more freely and appreciate the blue skies rather than stare at the four walls of her office.
Herself a daughter to entrepreneurs, she recalled this quote by Steve Jobs “Find what you love and turn it into a career!”. With her passion for art, architecture and social interaction, she says “I thrive on meeting others,” so the idea of setting up her own tour guide business came quite naturally.
In 2017, she decided to resign from her position as an auditor for PwC. For the following year, she was a freelance tour guide and then in 2018, took the plunge by starting her own private tour guide company: New York Prive LLC.
Curious about everything, Laurène is delighted with her new life and looking to continue meeting more amazing people.
As for Alicia Bulbeck, she has built her entrepreneurial initiative alongside her husband Josh. In March 2019, the couple opened a “zero-waste” grocery store. Their shop, located in the city centre of Wimbledon, is not just one in a long list of shops but with the mission of reducing plastic waste in the area.
Her passion for environmental issues as well as her taste for risk-taking, acquired while at Audencia, spurred her on to set up The Zero Shop.
So, what’s the dream? She is hoping that her grocery store will very soon become THE go-to shop for Brits seeking to buy locally-sourced, organic, fairly traded produce which is free from any unnecessary packaging.
Last but not least, for Coline Mazeyrat the entrepreneurial seed was sown during an encounter with Dorothée Barth. In September, this former public health reporter told her all about her project: to launch a brand of organic cotton tampons and sanitary towels. Straight away, Coline was on board and within the space of a week had resigned from her post in digital marketing. She got alongside Dorothée in the venture. Fast-forward a few months to April 2018 and they had launched their own e-commerce website. Their range of products is available as a one-off order or on subscription.
Placed on this very buoyant market, is Jho (which stands for “Juste et honnête”, Fair and Honest) on course to becoming the Procter and Gamble of the future? One thing is certain, there is a very promising future in store for Jho which, according to Challenges, is already listed as one of the top 100 start-ups to invest in.
If you are interested in getting together with other women entrepreneurs from Audencia, we’d love to hear from you!
Géraldine Lance, Editor
The Audencia Alumni Around The World tour, in gathering together over 450 alumni from Sydney to San Francisco, has reignited in graduates and friends of the school a renewed desire to get together. Gathering come in all shapes and sizes: business meetings, social evenings out or initiatives to support good causes like the one in Toronto, where on 14 April a team, entirely made up of Audencia Alumni members, set off to conquer one of the tallest buildings in the world, the CN Tower with its 146 floors, all to raise funds in aid of WWF.
One meeting may well lead to another
Clément Marlin (GE 07), Senior Financial Specialist for the WWF in Toronto, decided to take on the challenge and signed up for the WWF’s CN Tower Climb for Nature, an amazing annual event, which this year attracted over 9,000 participants and raised a total $1.37M to go towards the conservation of endangered species in Canada and throughout the world.
Clément wasted no time inviting on board Audencians whom he had met during the Around The World in Toronto evening gathering: Quentin Moreau-Defarges (GE 08), Christophe Neusy (FRC 17), Hélène Niyonzima (GE 14) and Siddharth Akolkar (IMM 10) former Audencia Alumni ambassador from Mumbai, and a recent newcomer to Ontario. It was a fabulous way to become part of the group while taking part in this worthy cause.
Click here to find comments made by the Audencia Alumni team and here for details on Audencia’s historic partnership with WWF.
Focus on Audencia Alumni communities in Canada
Currently, over 300* Audencians live in Canada, whether they graduated from one of the school programmes or spent several months on a university exchange. Around a hundred of them have accounts on Together, our Audencia Alumni website, which integrates an online directory and alumni services as well as a host of possibilities for alumni to interact including events, mentoring and direct messaging etc.
The vast majority of Audencians have joined Montreal (137) and the major metropolitan areas of East Toronto (77) and Ottawa (51). Even so, Vancouver has attracted around twenty alumni from the school. Some of them, relatively few in number, have ventured further afield, as is the case for Marie-Alexis Dangreau (GE 09), who works as a Financial Analyst and Management Controller in Whitehorse, Yukon. Finance remains the number one activity where most of our Audencians in Canada work but the gaming industry, and Ubisoft in particular, also attracts a large number of alumni.
In just a few clicks activate or update your Together account and join the Audencia Community in Canada .
Florence Alix-Gravellier, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni Team
Audencia alumni can reconnect with the school by taking part in the recruitment of international students, in particular by supporting “Join a School in France”. Spearheaded by the Paris Île-de-France Chamber of Commerce and Industry, this initiative enables a number of Grandes Ecoles to recruit international students i.e., those holding a certificate in higher education from outside France, onto the Grande Ecole Master in Management programme.
A seasoned globe-trotter himself, getting to study and work in countires such as the USA, Germany and West Africa, Franck Laurore (GE 07) is a member of the admissions panel for screening candidates in Paris.
“You should bear in mind that some of the applicants are in fact French students who have earned their diploma abroad. For them, enrolling onto a Grande Ecole programme is their first step towards a professional career in France. As far as international candidates are concerned, we are seeing a lot of students coming from China and North Africa.”
The panel’s schedule will include five to seven interviews per half-day, requiring a huge amount of drive and determination:
“Thanks to my various missions as a consultant, I have acquired a specific taste for university life, and of course for meeting others. Particularly within the framework of this competitive entrance exam, I like to keep my finger on the pulse so find it fascinating to sound out the managers of tomorrow,” Franck Laurore explains. “During the interviews, we have to assess three main skills: communication, general knowledge and personal qualities. In addition to this, we also put to the test their ability to get an interesting conversation going during our discussions.”
What has struck him most? “The wide variety of goals they have and that goes even for students from similar academic backgrounds: some of them are born sales reps, others remain hesitant and are still trying to find their own path.”
He confides that, despite currently being settled in France, this experience may well “rekindle a certain taste for travel.”
Jordi Soude (SciencesCom 07), Editor
The Audencia Foundation is setting up a new fundraiser in order to finance the next learning trip to the CES in Las Vegas and Silicon Valley to take place at the start of 2020.
The aim: to send ten Audencia students, from across all programmes, on an inspirational trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas before moving on to discover Silicon Valley. All in all, eight days of back-to-back visits to give them an inside look into what the ecosystem shaping the world of high tech has to offer.
This year’s call for proposals will be sent out across the entire school, no doubt giving rise to dozens of applications, as was the case last year. Two selection rounds will make it possible for the selection panel to choose the award-winners. In Las Vegas, joining the students will be alumni members from the Club Audencia des Dirigeants de l’Ouest (CADO), an association bringing together leaders in western France, which is the group spearheading this learning expedition initiative. In Silicon Valley, company visits will be put on for them along with a gathering in the company of the San Francisco alumni community, as part of their networking event which will be hosted by an inspiring keynote speaker.
In their log book, Niels, Chloé, Romain, Camille, Fiona and Xi, the six lucky winners from 2018, evoked:
“A trip with a succession of fascinating encounters. An emotionally-charged and highly informative week on both a professional and personal level. (…) Facebook, GitHub, Plug & Play are just some of the hard hitters. We packed in just about as many visits, meetings and discussions as we could with experts in high tech, investment professionals, business leaders and startuppers. (…) We were so lucky to get to go on this trip and hope there will be more to come. This is exactly the type of experience which enables a young entrepreneur to gain a better understanding of the environment in which (s)he operates and it can help propel a business onto the next level.”
This experience is both invaluable and enriching for any student looking for professional contacts!
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
The Class Gift fund provides funding for student projects thanks to donations made by the graduating class year.
The Class Gift initiative was set up three years ago by students at the school with the purpose of funding student projects. This fund is topped up by the profits made from the Cuvée de Promo (Class year vintage) kindly donated by Valentin Bros and Florentin Cugnot, co-founders of Monsieur W. So, what does this initiative aim to achieve? It aims to encourage students to get their ideas off the ground and is all about boosting student creativity by supporting a wide range of projects.
The call for proposals, open to all students, resulted in over 40 applications from across all academic programmes. Fifteen projects were shortlisted before being submitted to a selection panel tasked with picking four prize-winners and, in early April, a grant of 5,650 euros was awarded to the first-prize winner and 1,000 euros to the three others.
First prize went to Amin Valizadeh, an Iranian student on the International Master in Management (IMM), for his "Audencia Bridge" project, a platform seeking to bridge the gap between French and international students at Audencia by establishing closer ties for enhanced learning or language teaching.
The “Platine” project devised by Manon Novaretti, a student at Audencia SciencesCom, has the overarching goal of setting up a digital community platform aiming to promote literary and musical discoveries. Paul Brihaye, a student on the MSc in Management & Entrepreneurship in the Creative and Cultural Economy, seeks to highlight voudon culture and the place of women in African culture, through a documentary and Togolese social entrepreneurship project. As for Mathieu Mhun (GE 19), he is setting up "Alfred", a digital platform which allows people seeking “Ehpad” (Accommodation establishment for dependent elderly people) and senior care facilities for dependants to link up.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
From 5 to 7 June, Audencia will yet again be an integral part of this year’s Web2day Festival, the gathering place for all things digital which is being held in Nantes.
Undergraduates on the Audencia SciencesCom bachelor’s programme will be playing an active role during the 3-day event: as part of the team of volunteers, they will be helping greet an expected 7,000 festival goers as well as helping out during the conferences and manning the newsroom with live tweets, photos and videos.
What’s more, Audencia SciencesCom is organising a roundtable dedicated to Podcasts in the context of new practices and business models across the media. This is scheduled to take place on 6 June and gracing the stage will be Marianne Le Vavasseur, Head of Ad Sales at Deezer, Mathieu Gallet, Former CEO of Radio France and Founder of Majelan, Edouard Reis Carona, in charge of digital strategy at SIPA Group Ouest-France, Serge Schick, Head of strategic marketing and brand development for the Radio France Group and Estelle Prusker, Audencia Mediacampus Manager.
The “Cantine” in Nantes has been in charge of organising the event for the past 11 years and, once again, this year’s Web2day festival is set to be held under the naves at Stereolux and at various venues around the Ile de Nantes. The event is a magnet for attracting start-ups, project leaders, large companies, students, journalists and investors, and offers up 200 conferences hosted by 250 guest speakers. This year, for the first time ever, the Festival will also have a “talent showcase area” at the heart of the village. In particular, companies such as Capgemini, Sogeti, Accenture, ASI, OUI.sncf or even Lucca will be coming along to meet with their future talent pool.
Jordi Soude (SciencesCom 07), Editor
In 2018, Matthieu Batteur and Johan Bonnet - both 2008 Audencia graduates holding bachelor degrees - co-founded “Les Petits Culottés” in Paris. The premise: to provide new parents with eco-friendly nappies, via short supply chains, that are wholly available on subscription and with no commitment at www.lespetitsculottes.com.
Following early career paths working in the pharmaceutical and agri-food sectors, the two thirtysomethings came together to work on what has become a somewhat strategic commodity:
“A nappy that is 100% ecological and previously impossible to track down on the open market, despite the fact that many parents are now all too aware of the dangers posed by chemical products contained in nappies,” explains Matthieu Batteur.
So, the entrepreneurs have set themselves two key objectives: to safeguard the health of all future wearers of “Petits Culottés” while looking after the environment and secondly to benefit from the quality of their French expertise to come up with this nappy that is 100% natural, by partnering with a manufacturer based in the Vosges region of France. Launched onto the market in January 2019, the initial figures look rather promising:
“This year we are set to achieve an annual revenue of 2.3 million euros and 5 million in the coming year.”
To support this growth, the two entrepreneurs are now on a recruitment drive: with a current staff of five employees, the team at “Les Petits Culottés” should increase to around ten by the end of the year.
“We are looking for two types of profiles: sales force and community managers. The strategy to optimise our social media coverage is a major stake for us.” But you won’t be seeing the brand in any of the physical distribution channels: “This subscription and short supply chain system, via direct sales, allows us to offer our products at affordable prices. We also benefit from the support of a network of pharmacists, who are able to offer our product in pre-natal care kits given to expectant parents.”
The “kings of the French Nappy” have certainly got things off to a great start!
Jordi Soude (SciencesCom 07), Editor
Over recent years, some of your fellow Audencia alumni have founded their own company:
Congratulations to each and every one of them on these fine initiatives! We would like to wish them all a long and prosperous entrepreneurial adventure!
If you too have started your own business and do not appear on our list, then we’d love to hear from you. Please drop the team a line here at email@example.com.
Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni Team
“Zoos, a new pact with nature,” by Laurence Paoli (Head of Communications ExecEd 97).
Persian panthers, Buffon’s Macaws, tomato frogs, Partula snails, radiated tortoises, blue-spotted stingrays and more, all feature on the long list of endangered species that the public get to see in animal parks.
Modern zoos and aquariums are no longer merely places where rare and spectacular animals are exhibited for the enjoyment of an ever-increasing number of visitors. As our planet is undergoing the sixth phase of mass extinction in its history, they have also become key players in the defence of biodiversity, via their mission to become agents of conservation, research, and education, thereby positioning them firmly at the heart of the community of nature conservationists.
“Strategic brand content, content as a lever for value creation”, by Daniel Bô (SciencesCom 86) Strategic Brand Content, 2019
Giving brands meaning, enhancing product offerings, gaining a digital presence, giving voice to leaders, getting media interest, shining on the global stage, and more. This book, the fruit of twelve years’ research, is packed with unpublished studies, comments from professionals and a plethora of case study analysis.
If you too are a graduate whose work has been published, then we’d love to hear from you. Please drop the team a few lines at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni Team
Thank you for reading the mag #8. We look forward to seeing you in mid-July for a final issue before the summer break.
If you would like to see some topics covered in our next thematic sections, let us know, we will take them into account.
Until then, everything happens on Together. Create your account and join the 11,000+ Audencia Alumni active in the network.
And for all your questions, we are always available at: email@example.com
See you soon!
Your Alumni Team
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