The spirit of entrepreneurship is embedded in INSEAD’s culture. In fact, 53 percent of alumni engage in entrepreneurial ventures during their careers. INSEAD recently solidified this commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship through a highly anticipated partnership with STATION F, the world’s biggest start-up campus.
The initiative fulfils INSEAD’s twin desires to engage with the thriving Paris entrepreneurial community and nurture the next wave of INSEAD start-ups. A key feature of the partnership is the INSEAD LaunchPad, a hub with 30-plus desks for alumni ventures located on the STATION F campus.
The partnership strengthens INSEAD’s entrepreneurial culture, which has propelled it to a leading position among global business schools, says Peter Zemsky, Deputy Dean and Dean of Innovation. “We have a set of alumni who are world leaders in global entrepreneurship,” he explains. “This partnership is a great way for us to bring those insights to entrepreneurs and companies in Paris, while raising our visibility.”
The partnership supports INSEAD’s belief that global organisations have a responsibility to engage on a local level. STATION F contributes to the development of Paris as a leading global centre for entrepreneurship by offering an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” where start-ups can access all the services, support and resources they need under one roof.
The 34,000-square-meter space, which opened in June 2017, houses more than 1,000 start-ups and 30 international start-up programmes, with a prototype TechShop, event spaces, a post office, a 1,000 seat restaurant and a café. On-site corporate partners include Facebook, Microsoft, LVMH and BNP Paribas.
Entrepreneurs have access to VC firms and other funding sources, as well as advice and support for navigating laws and regulations. The idea is to cultivate a creative, collaborative atmosphere where businesses have access to everything they need to launch successfully.
“Many within the INSEAD community have been asking for such an initiative”, says Nancy Hsieh, Executive Director of the Rudolf and Valeria Maag INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship. “The combination of the two strong brands gives alumni start-ups a leg up. When they tell investors or potential clients that they’re based within the INSEAD LaunchPad at STATION F, it’s opening a lot of doors to them.”
LaunchPad is open by application to INSEAD alumni founders of early stage start-ups close to or beyond the MVP stage. It currently houses 11 start-ups. Alumni also can attend Master Classes, participate in the speaker series or support INSEAD entrepreneurs by mentoring or investing in the start-ups.
Ventures that have a social impact angle are encouraged at the LaunchPad, motivating entrepreneurs to keep INSEAD’s mission of using business as a force for good at heart. “We firmly believe that global entrepreneurship and business creation can have a tremendous positive impact on society,” says Zemsky.