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The Venture Factory

The number of students who want to start their own business instead of seeking a job in existing companies is increasing steadily. To help its students and alumni put their ideas into action and launch their startup, SKEMA Business School has created The Venture Factory, a unique incubation-acceleration system available at all its campuses.

Idea generation

The presence of SKEMA's campuses in four different countries — France, the U.S., China and Brazil — provides its students and alumni access to a plethora of business creation opportunities and the unique advantage of designing, testing and launching their project in a global context.

SKEMA’s international dimension gives students the option to identify opportunities abroad and learn how to customise their business model according to the requirements of different countries. It also enables them to implement their idea, through the reverse innovation strategy, in one country and test it in another.

The stimulation of innovative ideas is encouraged in courses and events. Courses on design thinking and crowd-driven entrepreneurship, and events such as Challenge IE, Défi Innovation, Hackathon KM and Startup Kafé, are a few examples.

The Venture Factory

Selection into the incubator

First, details of the entrepreneurial project are submitted on The Venture Factory’s website. The description of the key elements of the project allows The Venture Factory’s committee of coaches to evaluate its potential for innovation and level of maturity. If needed, the coaches ask for additional information to assess the applicant’s motivation and ability to develop the project.

This first filter, which is a crucial part of the process, makes the applicant confront important questions related to potential customers, co-founders, business partners, and investors.

In addition to this, to allow some project holders to rework their idea, another selection process takes place through events such as Bootstrap, StarTonic Week-End or Bootcamp depending on the maturity of the project. These three-day events are attended by students from SKEMA’s different campuses and from SKEMA’s partner-schools. The entrepreneur-students who pitch their project at these events are supported by coaches from The Venture Factory as well as its partners.

Incubation Process

Incubation may extend for up to 18 to 24 months.

If the project is accepted, a referent-coach is appointed who accompanies the entrepreneur-student in the conception and development. This referent closely coordinates with the other coaches of The Venture Factory.

Additional support is provided by graduates from the alumni-entrepreneurs clubs in different fields. Their experience is particularly useful for understanding local contingencies and access to local markets.

The alumni are also regularly asked to provide expertise on the local sectoral situation at conferences.

Students who pursue MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation are de facto in the Venture Factory and have a reinforced support during the programme and its projects.

The power of the network

SKEMA participates, on its French campuses, in local collective initiatives and PEPITEs (student centres for innovation transfer and entrepreneurship). These institutions, managed by local universities, allow students to share courses and events and can award them the status of "student-entrepreneur". 

In Sophia Antipolis, SKEMA Business School is a founding member of the PEPITE PACA-EST Cre@tude. In Lille, SKEMA is a member of the PEPITE Lille Nord de France. Every year, many SKEMA students are granted the status of “student-entrepreneur” (Etudiant Entrepreneur).

Once the startups have been created, student-entrepreneurs often become young alumni-entrepreneurs. They can be co-incubated by a partner incubator or accelerator, which complements post-incubation support and aids in the implementation and financing phases.

Among the key partners, SKEMA announced in July 2017 a close partnership with Le Village By CA of Sophia Antipolis, Paris and Lille.

In Sophia Antipolis, SKEMA is a partner of Incubateur PACA-EST (IPE).

In Lille, SKEMA manages the incubator Tonic which is specialised in technological innovations and collaborates with other incubators of the local ecosystem to provide students with a rich incubation and acceleration environment.

In Suzhou, China, SKEMA has co-founded with XJ-SKEMA incubator with its partner SISED, and has also developed a partnership with the Crescenders incubator.

In Raleigh, U.S.A., SKEMA students benefit from the entrepreneurial environment developed by the local actors. They regularly participate in a bootcamp co-organised with the NC State Entrepreneurial Clinic.

In Belo Horizonte, SKEMA has set up a partnership to support start-ups with SEED (Startups and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development) accelerator to support start-ups.
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