An increasing number of students want to prepare a business startup while they are studying at SKEMA. To enable them to bring their innovative idea to life and help launch their startup, SKEMA has created The Venture Factory — a unique incubation system deployed at all its campuses.
SKEMA’s international dimension and the establishment of campuses in different parts of the world represent a powerful stimulus for student innovation and business creation opportunities: identification of an opportunity abroad, change of business model from one country to another, reverse innovation thought up in Brazil, then testing in France.
The stimulation of innovative ideas is also encouraged in courses and events. This is the case of the courses of design thinking, crowd-driven entrepreneurship, or the Challenge IE, the Défi innovation, Hackathon KM, but also startup Kafés.
The projects then apply to the Venture Factory incubator.
Selection in the incubator
The process of entry into the incubator starts with the submission of the entrepreneurial project on the SKEMA Venture Factory website. The entrepreneur-student describes the key elements of the project in order to allow the Venture Factory coaches committee to appreciate the potential for innovation and the project’s level of maturity. Through the website, the coaches can ask for additional information to help assess the applicants’ motivation and their ability to develop their project.
This first filter is essential and immediately puts students in an entrepreneurial posture confronted with the questions of potential customers, co-founders, business partners, or investors.
In addition, in order to allow some project holders to rework their idea, another selection process takes place during a “Bootcamp”. This gathers students from different campuses for three days. Entrepreneur-students advance their projects through the collective dynamics and the contribution of coaches from the Venture Factory and partner incubators. The first “Bootcamp” was held in Lille on 4, 5 and 6 April 2016 in partnership with Euratechnologies.
Incubation by The Venture Family
Mentoring and peer-to-peer support is the motto of SKEMA Ventures. Incubation may extend for up to 18-24 months. If the project is accepted, a referent-coach is appointed who will accompany the entrepreneur-student in the construction and development of the project. This referent will act in close cooperation with the other coaches of The Venture Factory.
Additional support is provided by SKEMA Alumni present in the different territories. Their expertise and experience are particularly useful for sharing the latest field practices with entrepreneurs and understanding local contingencies and access to local markets. The alumni are also regularly asked to provide expertise on the local sectoral situation at conferences. The Venture Family also offers a unique support to SKEMA entrepreneurs: The peer-to-peer community service. The idea is simple. Each student-entrepreneur can call on expert students, validated as such by the community and spread across all our campuses to help solve a problem or understanding local specificity. The Community Service is a natural implementation of our values of multiculturalism and diversity, lifelong learning and personal development, entrepreneurship, humanism, and excellence.