Chuanmu Wang, cohort of the Global Entrepreneurship Program class of 2014/2015 shares his experience of the “European Business Project” he completed as part of the first semester of the program at EMLYON Business School in France. Students were required to complete startup projects in small teams with their classmates, to experience first-hand the process, challenges and decisions that an entrepreneur faces when launching a new business.Entrepreneurship graduate program students are supported by the EMLYON Incubator – the largest and oldest business incubator in France, spending time working on their project in a real-life startup environment, as well as receiving support from entrepreneurial experts.
The Global Entrepreneurship Program class of 2014/2015 developed 11 different startup projects varying from smartphone apps, social entrepreneurship projects, service providers, restaurants chains and more. Read more about the Startup Projects at EMLYON Business School here.
Chuanmu, could you tell us more about Never Eat Alone?
To summarize the project in one sentence: Never Eat Alone is an iOS application designed to help professionals to expand and maintain their network by sharing a meal with strangers. The original idea comes from the professional’s demand to expand their social network. Currently, they don’t have much time to socialize with people during the working day, so we wanted to create a platform for them and help them to socialize during a coffee break or lunchtime.
How did the experience develop you as an entrepreneur?
During the Global Entrepreneurship Program’s semester in France, we used most of our time to develop the Never Eat Alone project. We learned how to find the demand for a product or service in the market. For our project, this was a social need. After deciding to pursue this project, we had to do market research which is very important for an entrepreneur. Also, the process of brainstorming and developing our idea taught us how to perfect our product and to think from the customer’s angle. The most important part is how to manage a team and the development process.
What support was available to you during the process?
Every week we had time to meet with our team members and every 2-3 weeks we had to pitch the project to our mentor at the EMLYON Incubator. The schedule gave us enough time to perfect the project. Guest speakers at the EMLYON Incubator also gave us a lot of useful suggestions.
How did the European Business Project compare to the Chinese Business Project you are now working on?
These two projects are totally different. In France, we were asked to build our project based on our own idea. It was an incentive to think innovatively. Also, as I mentioned, we learnt a lot during the development process, including how to grow a business from the original idea to a success.
However, the Chinese Business Project asks us to work with a partner company. We act as a team of consultants to help the company do research and analysis and help them to solve a business problem. It is more focused on observing and analysing an existing business.
What was the highlight of the semester in France for you?
The Cultural Trip and Company Visits were really nice. We all loved the vineyard trip. It is really interesting to learn about French culture!
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