Le VentureLab : an incubator forming part of a social project

If student start-ups are a source of change, if they are ready to break the rules and construct new ones, how can young people maintain their dreams of a start-up while offering real answers to the challenges of society? In this context, what is the role of an incubator?

VentureLab shares with you its commitment of being part of a social project and not riding on the back of a fashionable trend. It provides support during the start-up process and, by taking the life path of students and young graduates into account, VentureLab has developed several guidelines to good practice to train tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, key players for change.


Supporting individuals before supporting projects

First and foremost, the entrepreneurial adventure is an individual human adventure during which students acquire additional skills which are indispensable to responding to current and future market demands and to building up their agility. In a world governed by the rapid obsolescence of knowledge and expertise, the role of the incubator is therefore, above all, educational. At VentureLab, the first selection criterion is the student’s profile or rather their Gniac*, or true grit, for entrepreneurship. Once accepted, young entrepreneurs go through a three-month trial period, at the end of which they have to prove they have become entrepreneurs with an established business model. The relevance of the project will be assessed but the main requirement will always be the ability to make the project a reality.

An alignment between the project, personal aspirations and society

To help young people build their future and business, and transform society in line with their aspirations, VentureLab has set up an additional initiative called “BeeLab”. The 3 days residence encourage them to reconnect their project with what they are feeling deep-down in order to find the balance between personal fulfillment and the project’s performance, in the context of a changing world. Here, entrepreneurship is no longer primarily about action but is also about the creation of a vision and personal fulfillment, the true driver of performance and resilience. To support these agents of change, VentureLab understands that it is first necessary to develop their visionary and innovative skills, their ability to collaborate and to be optimistic.

If the type of project is not judged at the outset, the development of awareness and actions undertaken will be evaluated/questioned. There are therefore no entry criteria relating to the type of project. Projects accepted by VentureLab SHOULDN’T have a social subject or dynamic. It is the role of the incubator to raise awareness of continuous progress by asking questions relating to the 3Ps : people, profit, planet.

Sophie Joris, director of VentureLab, an incubator for Student Entrepreneurs

How could the incubators be part of a social project? VentureLab, a tool for creating agents for change by two Entrepreneurs in Residence