Start-up and Entrepreneurship Programs

Whether you’re a student or have been in business for several years, the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business is daunting. You ask yourself a thousand questions.

Let our incubator and start-up accelerator help you move from your project idea to the first sale.

Digital Program

Startup: The 5 Commandments of the Commercial Landing Page

Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate Guide to Successful startup Fundraising with a Venture Capital

pitch formation prise de parole discours

Entrepreneurs: why you need to learn how to sell above everything else

formation prise de parole pitch

The ultimate guide to the partner pact in start-up!

formation open innovation start up collaboration

4 mistakes to avoid when creating a startup partner pact

The ultimate Guide for an effective start-up sales strategy

idée d'entreprise innovation lab Création et lancement de produits innovants Création d'un produit innovant

Startup Accelerator

hackathon

Student entrepreneur

incubateur de startup paris

Startup incubator

How do you start-up and become an entrepreneur?

Where do you start to launch your startup? Every entrepreneur is confronted with many questions: "I'm alone, should I surround myself with a team?" "Is it a good idea to launch a startup while still being a student?" "Should I be supported by an incubator or an accelerator?" "How can I find investment?" Whether you are a solo entrepreneur, a student, or learning new expertise, here is a short F.A.Q on how to launch your startup idea.

  • When do I launch my startup?

    This question is legitimate and although there is no “right age” to become an entrepreneur, there are still two periods in our lives that are more favorable for this:

    • at the end of our studies, because we are often still living at our parents’, with little cost to live, a desire to undertake to the maximum and the ease to learn new things
    • after gaining work experience or having children, we had time to put money aside, and our CV and our professional network are two assets that we can use.

    But you have to ask yourself the right questions upstream:

    “Have I thought about my business plan?”

    “Am I ready to take the risk?”

    “Have I studied enough the subject or the market that I am about to attack?”

    “Is there really an opportunity?”

    “What is my personal purpose through this project?”

    Once you’re clear about all this, remember that making the transition from an entrepreneurship to school/management, but also the other way around, is not easy: when you’ve started in a lane, changing direction is a complicated effort. But it’s also a great human adventure! 

    When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s the mindset that counts, not the age! Indeed, the common point between successful entrepreneurs is primarily based on their way of thinking. They have an entrepreneurial logic that is sometimes more natural for some, but it can be studied. 

    The entrepreneurial spirit is also based on iteration: one good idea is not enough, you must constantly listen to its market, integrate the feedback of its prospects and customers, and always iterate, to continually improve its product and its Operations. This last point is of crucial importance: the customer and their needs are at the heart of the start-up project. An entrepreneur seeks to create solutions for real problems affecting their user.

  • How do I know if my business idea is good?

    When you start a business or a start-up, you must not be afraid to dare or fail. 

    Rule number one: talk to as many people as possible! One of the most important steps when embarking on entrepreneurship is to talk to your users to understand their issues and identify a market opportunity. This step, called “Observation” based on the Design Thinking methodology, is essential.

    Ask yourself the right questions: who is my target? What are their needs? What is my market in terms of value and size? 

    Rule number two: a start-up idea is worthless. What matters is to test your ideas quickly, at a lower cost, to understand their potential, and then to know how to react quickly to the results of its tests by applying an entrepreneurial approach: testing and learning

    Launching your start-up starts with the development of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product): an MVP start-up is a prototype – it’s the first version of your product, for which a customer is willing to pay. The MVP validates the market’s interest in its offer. In this context, the challenge is to create your MVP as quickly as possible, being agile through methods like Lean Startup.

  • How do I find a partner?

    First of all, you should not look at the quest for an associate as an achievement in itself. Doing this for 6 months will not lead to anything, especially if you are looking for a CTO like many entrepreneurs. If you lack technical skills (business, tech, design, etc.), ask your friends and family to help you, or even a freelancer! Keep in mind that in most cases, you can test an idea without using tech, through free or inexpensive tools (i.e. no-code tools). 

    An associate is first and foremost a complementary profile: get out of your comfort zone and go to events that correspond to the person you are looking for, not to who you are!

    In addition, finding your partner is also a matter of timing, meetings and opportunities. Step forward on your project and you will naturally meet people from the sector you are targeting who might be interested in joining the adventure, but don’t wait until you’ve found the rare gem to move forward.

    In the end, the best solution is to talk about it around you, because we often have a friend of a friend that could fit the project 😉

  • Incubator, accelerator... Is their help relevant for my business?

    No accelerator or incubator can guarantee the success of your startup. The key to a startup’s success is first and foremost the team: its ability to execute and understand the needs of your users. So why join an incubator or a startup accelerator program? 

    • To save you time: an incubator or an accelerator has the mission to quickly identify when you are wrong and to push you to confront your customers to “fail fast, succeed faster“.

     

    • The network: the network of the incubator or the accelerator can play in your favor. It’s a gold mine for discussions, knowledge of the market, and perhaps even collaboration. 

     

    • Support: by joining an incubator or an accelerator you will meet people who believe in you and your project. This is an essential point, especially for all solo entrepreneurs looking for a partner. Think of an incubator like your team or your advisory board who will support you no matter what. In addition to the support of the team, it is also the help of other start-ups that must be taken into account. In the same program promotion, entrepreneurs often have corresponding profiles and skills!

    Each incubator has its own style. In Paris, some incubators are safe values, such as 50Partners, Schoolab, Day One Entrepreneur, The Family, Techstars, among others. Before you make your choice, here are some things to consider: 

    • Reputation, values, and quality of the coaching: learn about what is included in the program like workshops, follow-ups, mentors, and experts. The best way to get an opinion is by chatting with the alumni.
    • Status: for early-stage startups (still an idea or without traction), you can apply to incubators such as Schoolab or The Family. The more advanced startups have more choices: 50Partners, Day One Entrepreneur, The Family, Techstars, Schoolab, etc.
    • The price: some incubators like Schoolab will mainly charge you the price of the workspace. For free vs. equity incubators, ask yourself: “is it wise to give up 4% of my startup for only 6 months of support?”. Think about it in terms of return on investment. 
  • Choosing my playground: Paris, Province, or abroad?

    Paris has the advantage of being a cosmopolitan city where the entrepreneurial ecosystem is highly developed, with easy ways to meet people. On the other hand, it is also one of the most expensive cities in the world.

    Launching your startup in Province (outside of Paris) can therefore be interesting if you are targeting a particular sector (i.e. Bordeaux for wine tech, Toulouse for aerospace), in addition to requiring a lower cost of living, and therefore allowing you to start with a more comfortable budget. You will have a nice living environment (#surf #seafood), less competition, and a smaller but easy to reach ecosystem.

    Another solution is to choose the path of digital nomadism: you will get amazing living conditions, see if your idea works in different countries, and perhaps also find an idea that solves a problem in a specific part of the world.

  • How do I finance my startup?

    This is one of the most frequently asked questions by entrepreneurs.

    First of all, we must understand how a startup’s investment cycle works, which is broken down into four main phases:

    • Equity is the money you invest to finance the beginnings of your business – count about 10,000 euros in the first year to cover legal, accounting, server… costs.
    • Then comes the moment when you generate some traction: you find your first customers. It’s time to ask your friends and family for help: this is what we call the “love money”. This is when you can also apply for various aids such as the French Tech Exchange, BPI, Enterprise Network, a loan to your bank, etc.
    • Then comes the beginning of your growth: with 3,000 to 5,000 euros of revenue per month, you have to hire and structure your processes, and finance this growth. Therefore you will need to find investors to organize a seed round with Business Angels (BA) and perhaps a Venture Capital (VC). Other financing options may be considered, such as those permitted through private equity, Family Offices, or Corporate Venture Capitals (CVC) structures.

    Finally, never forget that the best money is the one that your customers are happy to pay for the problem you solve!

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