People don’t buy products or services; they buy solutions to their problems

At VentureLab, we profoundly believe that the value of an entrepreneurial project comes from its ability to respond to a real market need.

That’s just common sense, you’ll say. But first you have to identify the real need, understand its mechanisms, and prove that the need is felt by sufficient numbers to make the business sustainable.

Obviously economic impact varies from one start-up to the next. Frédéric Ooms, a creativity researcher, reminds us:

There is a law which no company can avoid, the law of failure. Indeed, 80% of ideas fail even if they have been extremely well executed and have had millions of euros invested in them.

To illustrate his remark, he humorously refers to “Google Graveyard” which records several dozen projects launched by Google before being abandoned through lack of success.

Start-ups obviously cannot escape this risk. Nevertheless, they can minimise it by validating their ideas as quickly as possible, before significant investment has even been raised.

Student Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to be leaders of structures which are still small and flexible, capable of adapting very quickly to signals from the market. To maximise this opportunity, VentureLab plans to help them gather these signals efficiently on the ground, by talking to future clients, right from their first few weeks in the incubator. Backed up by this approach, there are today 37 companies that have left VentureLab and are still thriving (representing 82.22% of all companies leaving the incubator). They provide 171 jobs and are based on continued relations with their clients.

For an incubator, helping entrepreneurs validate their ideas on the ground means ensuring that the future start-up is committed to developing a solution that responds to a real problem, rather than just being about the entrepreneur’s “dream”.

Is this not the fundamental condition for the creation of a sustainable economic impact ? 

Aude Bonvissuto

Project Manager VentureLab

IRIS, this “risky little thing“ Oceans of optimism working for entrepreneurs