« 50% of students wishing to join KEDGE want to either start a business or work in a start-up ». Because start-ups are turning into a de facto working standard, the business school is pulling out all the stops by multiplying initiatives around its Business Nursery, which could quickly become a « place to be » in the Provence’s innovative ecosystem.
I had discovered this place recently by meeting Telaqua‘s team, whose activity revolves around connected water meters. This time I had the opportunity to visit the Business Nursery with Quentin Dumontet, head of entrepreneurship at the school, and Sébastien Mei, directly in charge of the nursery.
The Business Nursery is a vast area of 500 square meters financed by a donation of one million euros from the family of Daniel Carrasso, former honorary president of Danone and former also of the Marseilles business school. There are mentoring type services, classic in this type of structure, and some nice innovations such as caravans. Designed specifically for the school, these workspaces for 4-5 people look like train compartments. They can be moved at will, while remaining powered by electricity and can be written on at will. What Quentin Dumontet calls a « zone of flexible co-working ». KEDGE being a business school, these spaces are even being sponsored.
Just inaugurated in March, the nursery has great ambitions. First of all, to not be « confined » to KEDGE students and alumni but to allow external start-ups to settle there. But also to facilitate the growth of these companies. « We brought coaches on many topics, from client recruitment to fundraising, » says Quentin Dumontet. « We support them especially on this last point, start-ups must be prepared and raise funds at the right time, neither too early nor too late. »
Toulon, Bordeaux and Dakar
The school will also set up its own network of business angels, capitalizing on its vast alumni’ address book. Growth again, the business nursery has recently spread to Toulon, while a similar space will soon open in Bordeaux. The school is even thinking about creating one in Dakar, where it is already established. KEDGE should also set up new entrepreneurship training programs, mostly digitalized.
What was initially a school-based student support initiative is now becoming a launching pad aimed at bringing its start-ups as far as possible. The business nursery has just opened the call for projects for its next promotion, which runs until 31 January.
[Version française: Les grandes envies de croissance de la KEDGE Business Nursery]