Neoma BS has three incubators, three co-working spaces and more than 200 students from the Grande Ecole Programme who each year choose to specialise in entrepreneurship. While the business school already has a large entrepreneurship ecosystem, it has decided to go even further. In 2018, NEOMA BS launched two specialised accelerators, one dedicated to EdTech and the other to Mobility. Both are intended to support start-ups that have already been created in order to help them in reaching a more advanced stage of development.
The first call for projects will be launched in April 2018 in order to select, from the first year, two groups of five start-ups per accelerator, one based in Rouen and the other in Reims.
The accelerators: support programmes complementing the incubators
“With these two accelerators, we add another dimension to our support system for entrepreneurship,” said the Dean of NEOMA Business School, Delphine Manceau. “From the birth of the idea to its development and now on to the consolidation of the start-ups and their growing strength, we’ve enlarged our offer of services and, as a result, strengthened our excellence in supporting entrepreneurship.”
As the final stage of a continuing company creation support programme, the accelerators offer start-ups mentorships, assessment missions, training modules and pitch meetings in front of potential investors.
“Our accelerators provide important development time in a three-month period, with a first major fund-raising success as the main focus", Denis Gallot said, incubator director at NEOMA Business School. “The key to success is daily coaching combined with input and assistance from professionals with specialisations as well as general expertise.”
Accelerators in step with the NEOMA Business School’s sectors of excellence
EdTech is a rapidly growing sector with more than 300 identified actors*, numerous events organised in Europe (like EdTechXEurope) and several initiatives aiming to make France a leading nation with regards to its digital technology contribution applied to education and training (such as the mission statement of EdTechFrance).
NEOMA EdTech Accelerator capitalises on the commitment of NEOMA BS to pedagogic innovation based on digital technology. EdTech represents a major strategy for the school, which for a long time has emphasised the development of innovative pedagogic processes, such as the use of Immersive Virtual Reality equipment, launched two years ago, an investment which shows the school as a pioneering force in this sector.
Based in Reims, the EdTech accelerator relies on the strength of NEOMA BS, which can test and put to use different technology directly through its student body, its network of partners and its connections with local and regional stakeholders.
This accelerator covers three aspects of EdTech: educational methods for learning how to learn and developing the learner’s creativity, digital technologies and tools that can effectively convey and share useful skills and knowledge for a company, and educational management systems. The objective is to support innovative projects that work to facilitate rapid and sustainable anchoring of knowledge and increased mobilisation of students in their learning process.
Société Générale Champagne-Ardenne has already committed to offering its support to this accelerator. “With innovation being one of our main values, Société Générale Champagne-Ardenne is proud to support the EdTech start-up accelerator in order to foster the emergence of new talents at NEOMA Business School,” said Jean-Eric Auberger, regional director of Société Générale Champagne-Ardenne. “For more than 150 years our bank has offered its consulting expertise, supported project leaders, helped them find the right partners and aided them in progressing in their development, efforts that have always played a central role in our continuing commitment to businesses. Based in Reims, our team of experts in business markets will work alongside entrepreneurs at all stages of development in their start-ups and provide assistance to creators concerning their specific needs.”
NEOMA Mobility Accelerator relies on the well-known expertise of NEOMA BS in Logistics, Supply Chain Management and Transports, with its internationally recognised MOBIS Research Institute, degree-granting programmes at all levels, the Supply Chain Management specialisation in the Grande Ecole Programme, a faculty of professors and researchers working on the forefront of these subjects and more.
Based Rouen, this specialised accelerator is part of a long-established logistical and industrial history, along with the port of Rouen, the first grain port in Europe, the Seine River Valley, a centre of national interest since 2013 due to the development of its port network and the strong cohesiveness of the economic players in the region. NOEMA BS has strong connections with these specialised sectors, allowing the accelerator to offer to its start-ups a unique experimenting arena where they can test their products and services among regional municipalities, transport and logistics companies, ports, ground infrastructures, a regional ecosystem with competiveness centres and the excellent Seine-Normandy logistics sector.
The ambition of this new structure is to help innovative projects that aim to foster the greatest fluidity possible in the exchange of goods and information and the communication between people. Innovation is the key component of this programme, with its comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach that focuses on trackling mobility issues as a whole, no matter what type of infrastructures are involved (ports, ground transports), superstructures (port automation, autonomous loading cranes, robotisation, etc.), mobile equipment (connected lorry convoys, self-driving vehicles) or services (new business models, 3D printing, block-chain technology, AI, etc.).
The regions as favoured partners
NEOMA BS is conscious of the role it plays in term of the attractiveness of its territories, and that’s why it has chosen to set up its two accelerators in a way that connects them with the strengths of each region, Rouen and Reims. The school relies on the dynamic local ecosystems when opening its accelerators to a range of start-ups, and not just those that come from its own incubators. NEOMA will provide the start-ups with access to its cutting-edge services, human resources as well as its school equipment and materials. This willingness demonstrates the school’s commitment to attract national and international project leaders to Rouen and Reims and keep them there.
“These two accelerators will work in close collaboration with the local economic players to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation in the regions, “Delphine Manceau explained. “In this respect, regional companies are at the top of the list of our potential partners.”*figures from the observatoire EdTech.