Entrepreneurship, a quest for freedom

26 November 2021 By

Basically, nothing predestined her to become an entrepreneur. Gwenaëlle Pellerin, CESEM graduate from NEOMA Business School in 2011, loves change and freedom. After having worked in finance for five years in large groups in France and in the United States, Gwenaëlle converted to associative management. Then, she joined the adventure of Feel Français in 2007, a startup founded by her friend Perle Ceccomori to welcome international students in France. “I was looking for a new challenge and it has been a while since I followed the evolution of this startup. I found the approach very relevant, knowing how difficult it is for a foreign student to understand the workings of the French administration! Whether during her internship in the United States or during her MBA in London, Gwenaëlle has always felt extremely welcome. “I was helped to understand what administrative procedures were necessary, who to contact, how to find accommodation, etc. It was a real treat! And we really feel welcome. “By joining Feel Français, it is this benevolence that Gwenäelle strives to transmit to foreign students by giving them the keys to land gently on French soil. “Through the platform, we help them with their visa applications, social security, finding accommodation, water and electricity contracts, insurance, etc. “Feel Français goes even further in terms of hospitality by presenting students with their future establishment, community life as well as a directory of other foreign students in the same promotion. A very complete solution chosen by around thirty institutions in France today and which has counted more than 22,000 student users since 2017, including 10,000 only in 2021.

“The great thing about entrepreneurship is that you never get bored! Since joining the adventure, I have never done the same. At the beginning, I mainly did operations, then accounting, human resources, calls for projects … and now I am also developing new functionalities. It’s very stimulating!” For example, she recently created a card game that was distributed to more than 1,000 students at the start of the 2021 school year, allowing them to learn more about French culture in the form of a fun quiz.

Feel Français is developing little by little and the team plans to deploy the platform – fully customizable – in the United Kingdom as well as in the United States from the end of 2021. However, Gwenaëlle does not feel the need to raise funds, so dear to the eyes of startuppers and even feels a certain unease. “When talking to other entrepreneurs, there always comes a point where we are asked the question, ‘So when do you raise funds? How much are you looking for? “, As if it was a mandatory step for all start-ups. However, not raising funds also has many advantages, including that for example of remaining sole master on board the ship, without being accountable to anyone. True freedom, in short!”

Incubated at NEOMA in 2019, Gwenaëlle takes pleasure in exchanging as much as possible with other Incubator project leaders, participating in events, exchanging tips and best practices, sharing galleys and tips. It is also a way to boost your creativity and get out of your bubble. “As entrepreneurs, we tend to want everything to be perfect before starting out. However, what really works is rather the TEST & LEARN method, as imperfect as it is, because it allows us to directly test concepts with little means and to know if they have potential or if they need to be. make changes to it. “If I have any advice for students, then get started! Do not hesitate to talk to the people you meet about your project, discussions help ideas grow and evolve!