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Interview with Louise-Marie Véron

On the theme of People & Tech, the Startup Development Director of Paris&Co examines what it means to be an entrepreneur, and what role failure and success have in an entrepreneur's journey.

Louise Marie

people & tech

About Louise-Marie

Louise-Marie Véron, is the Startup Development Director of Paris&Co, France’s first incubation network. Louise-Marie has 12 years of experience in B2B business, communication and leadership coaching. She started her professional career by launching a practice specialized in high executives coaching (Visconti Partners). As Marketing and Business Development Director of Visconti, she developed strong skills in branding, communication, and sales management. Now Startup Development Director of Paris&Co, she spends her time helping startups with their business development, VC relationships and management issues. She also lectures at Centrale Essec Entrepreneurship Advanced Master Degree. She graduated from Sciences Po.

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I am Louise Marie Véron. I am the start-up director of Paris and Co. It's an organization that promotes innovation and economic development in Paris and the metropolis. We run about fifteen innovation programs by sector, for example on sustainable cities, health, culture, and Fintech. Our job is to bring together start-ups, entrepreneurs, and project leaders with major groups in the sector, SMEs, ETIs, institutions, and sometimes associations. In order to help this entire ecosystem to be more innovative and to develop in a more sustainable way.

Fostering innovation

My mission, specifically within Paris and Co, is to accompany the development of entrepreneurs, our business is entrepreneurship. My team works throughout Paris and Co. We accompany about 500 entrepreneurs per year and we set up, for example, a lot of workshops with experts that we go and find, with whom we build support programs. We have done 300 of these in 2020. We also set up a lot of partnerships with a whole group of companies that can help entrepreneurs develop on a daily basis. For example, Microsoft, JobTeaser on recruiting Jenji, on expense accounts to help our start-ups go faster at a lower cost.

Modern entrepreneur

I find that there are as many entrepreneurs as there are projects that I have seen, extremely different entrepreneurs, men, women, introverts, extroverts, young, and old depending on the sector. And sometimes, there are quite marked differences. It's pretty funny. But I would say that if there are a few points that bring them together, it's first of all tenacity, and even the fact of being stubborn sometimes. Because when you launch an entrepreneurial project, you always have someone to explain to you that the idea has already been imagined by someone else, but it didn't work out, that the market is big enough, that it's going to be complicated, that they don't have the right skills. So I think you have to believe in your project, even if you fail and start again. The second point? I would say the passionate side, of course. I think that if you think that you are not going to be able to wake up at night thinking about your project, to always have an idea, you should not necessarily be an entrepreneur. So here is this passionate, committed side. I breathe my project all the time. Clearly, this is the DNA of all entrepreneurs. And the third common point, I would say optimism. Because entrepreneurs are people who want to change the world, who believe they can. It's really this optimism, this confidence in life, in the future that characterizes them. I think quite strongly, so I would say these three points: tenacity, passion, and optimism.

Failure & Success

Entrepreneurs who succeed in everything, they have good vibes or good karma, so it works out really well for them. Well, that's often the tip of the iceberg. Because in general, when you dig behind it, you see that there have been more or less big failures before or on certain subjects, so obviously failure is part of the life of an entrepreneur. It is all the more part of it because, in the end, for me, it is the genesis of an entrepreneurial project. That is to say that if there is no failure somewhere, there is no entrepreneur, because the entrepreneur comes to change something that does not work very well, because there are solutions that today do not work or have failed on a certain subject. So I would say that every entrepreneurial project is born from a form of failure somewhere if you look at it that way. And then in the life of the entrepreneur, obviously, there are failures and I believe that what characterises the entrepreneurs who finally succeed is those who have been able to look their failure in the face, to draw conclusions from it, not to reproduce them and to go further. And that's what we try to do in our support, to help them look at these failures as objectively as possible and with a smile, saying to themselves, "It's okay, we'll get there.

Mentoring & Trust

In ten years, I have accompanied many companies of which I am quite proud. Because they are changing the world on their own scale, those in the health sector that will help, for example, women to better manage their lives as women, those in the sustainable city that will allow us to have a city with gentler mobility, with more vegetation in the food. We have a lot of subjects that are, that are exciting and that makes me very proud to work for Paris and Co. And we are proud of the little things, that is to say, that at some point we will help an entrepreneur on a very specific subject, he will call us afterward saying, thanks to this coaching, I have more customers today, so we celebrate many small victories, we celebrate some bigger ones, for example, the fundraising of companies that we have been able to accompany in meeting with investors. Obviously, we are very proud.

Development & Commitments

I also want to talk about a more internal pride, that of my team. Because we ourselves are a bit of a small start-up within Paris and Co. We have a very entrepreneurial logic and we're coming out of a rather complex period to manage with Covid. We had to do everything remotely, etc. And despite that, we launched all the projects we absolutely wanted to work on. We launched our fundraising platform in March. We launched a program around the impact to help our entrepreneurs go further. We don't just support them in their growth. We also help them achieve sustainable and more virtuous growth. And so, I'm very proud that our entrepreneurs are committed to this program. We have brought together some very interesting partners in the field of environmental and social impact. And so, when an entrepreneur says I am in the middle of developing my business and I want to take time to get involved in this project so that my product, my service, is more virtuous from an environmental and social point of view. It is a great pride. That's a lot of pride.


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