To start a business, being a student is an asset. The testimony of Martin, 24 years old

How did you get the idea for United Linkless?

“The idea was there, under my eyes, for ten years, since my aunt had for a long time been wearing these unrelated earmuffs that she had bought in Sweden. Finally, that’s it, entrepreneurship! Take off her blinkers, look around and see the opportunities. ”

How long have you put in to start your business?

“Setting up a business takes time. We had the idea in October 2011 and we created the legal structure in June 2012, but we did not really market our products until the end of December 2012. Between the construction of the brand identity, the commercial strategy and the mounting of the financing file, we put more than a year. ”

How did you manage to convince your bank?

“Finding money has not been easy. It was necessary to build a very solid financial file, with a detailed cash flow plan. It is not enough to align numbers, it is important to understand them well in order to be able to explain them and prove to the banks that everything we have put in place is consistent.

It is true that our student status has a little worried our interlocutors, who wondered if we would have time to devote to our company. But we always stressed that the school allowed us to be surrounded by professionals able to give us a real support. That reassured our banker a lot. Finally, we obtained € 5,000 from the bank and € 5,000 from France Active. We personally contributed € 2,000. ”

Did you receive specific help for young people?

“There are a number of aids for young people. As far as we are concerned, we have benefited from Accre, which allows people under the age of 26 to be exempted from charges for a year. ”

How do you get started with little money?

“When you have a small capital like ours, you have to manage differently. We appealed to friends and family, who appreciate our approach, who have skills and are willing to help us. Thanks to them, we were able to make a video clip with very little means. ”

Listen to Martin’s testimony:

Did you have to make concessions?

“Yes, our lack of resources forced us to have our earmuffs made in Asia, which was not what we wanted at the beginning: it does not fit in with the ethical values ​​of our brand. As soon as we can, we will relocate production in France. ”

What brings you this dive into entrepreneurship?

“I particularly appreciate not having hierarchical pressure. The constraints, we are the only ones to impose them! Being an entrepreneur allows us to exploit 100% of our capabilities. If we were in a company, we would use only 20 or 30% of our skills and we might be stuck in our initiatives. There we are free, and it is particularly pleasant! ”

How do you see the future?

“We will continue to grow the business. We are currently thinking about a new collection of fleece sweaters that we will make in France by Esat (establishments and services of help by the work). ”

Accre, a help for jobseekers
Under 26, regardless of their situation, and 26-30 years old who have not worked for a long enough period to qualify for unemployment benefits, or who are disabled, can benefit from the Accre (help for job seekers creating or taking over a business).
This aid allows a total exemption from social contributions for 12 months or a partial and progressive exemption over 3 years.

Create your company in the social and solidarity economy: follow the guide!

Classical company / enterprise of the social and solidarity economy:
what are the differences?

For Chloé Bellue, head of the social entrepreneurship program at Avise *, “an ESS company must have a social and / or environmental utility. Cooperative organic products, fair trade shop, solidarity bank, insertion restaurant … Whatever your idea, ask yourself this question: does my project respond to a need of society? If the answer is yes, welcome to the social and solidarity economy! “

“In a company of the social and solidarity economy , adds Julien Bottriaux, head of public relations at L’Atelier, decisions are made with all the people associated with the project. The profit does not go to shareholders, but it is reinvested in the company or distributed to employees. “

Can an ESS company make money?

“In an ESS company, big and beautiful ideas are not enough! warns Julien Bottriaux. The business must be profitable, so make money. The sources of income are very diverse. You have to be clever at finding money both through the sale of products or services, through grants, or through private funds. “

For Chloé Bellue, “a social entrepreneur wants to make money, just like any entrepreneur. But money is a means, not an end in itself. To have a solid project that interests funders, the idea must be economically viable and socially relevant. “

How to give yourself every chance of success?

Create your business with others and bet on the complementary skills! 

Make sure there is a real social or environmental need in the city or region where you want to operate.

Check that your idea does not already exist . These partially subsidized companies must rely on complementarity of activity, and not on competition.

Get help. Many structures exist: incubators, nurseries, regional chambers of the ESS, incubators … They know the sector well and will help you to turn to the right contacts according to your project. They can also sometimes accompany you in the definition of the business plan.

Meet the federations of the sector according to the theme of your project : organic agriculture, disability, housing, fair trade, early childhood … Federations can be a rich source of information.

Enter a cooperative activity and employment. A CAE brings together social entrepreneurs from different backgrounds. They are employees of the cooperative, which also supports the administrative aspect and offers them support. A good way to test the viability of the project while minimizing the risks!

Do you know Say Yess? An online media published by the AVISE whose objective is to raise the 16-30 years to social and solidarity economy while encouraging them to act in their daily lives. A section dedicated to jobs but also to employment in the ESS advises you to work in the ESS:

And if we have desires but no ideas?

“The younger generation is searching for meaning, but ideas do not always come alone! explains Élodie Bensoussan, coordinator of the jeun’ESS program in Avise. Depending on the subject that interests them (fair trade, organic farming, poverty, disability, renewable energy, housing …), I would advise young people to take inspiration from existing initiatives, to meet social entrepreneurs, to become volunteers, go to conferences, read the press and specialized literature to identify gaps and needs in their city or region. If the need is detected, the idea will come gradually. ”

* L’Avise, a resource and engineering center for the social and solidarity economy, offers tools to undertake other initiatives and promote the initiatives of SSE carried out by young people.

How to get help? 
If you are in Ile-de-France, come and talk about your idea with L’Atelier’s project managers . The advisors will help you to mark your project and will indicate the structures that can accompany you.
In the regions, the Cress (Regional Chamber of Social and Solidarity Economy) supports and supports projects.

Start your business at 20, mission impossible? Stop the received ideas!

To start a business,
you have to leave a business school

False! “You do not have to go out of a big school to start a business,” says Laurence Piganeau, head of expertise and legal services at PACE (Agency for the Creation of Enterprises).

At Adie (Association for the right to economic initiative), microcredit organization, 23% of entrepreneurs have no degree! From CAP to bac + 5, with energy and will, anything is possible!

To create your business, you need a brilliant and innovative idea

False! Only 36% of young designers say they have innovated in their market.

“Young people today travel a lot and often find their ideas by reproducing what they have seen abroad. But they can also start from a traditional activity, from which they will find an original concept that will distinguish them from their competitor and will arouse interest “, explains Laurence Piganeau.

To start a business, you need a lot of money

Not necessarily ! Of course, everything depends on the activity you want to develop, but in France 55% of young designers started with less than 8,000 €.

If you need a financial boost and your bank refuses to lend you, ask your family or friends. Think about microcredit too! With 130 branches in France, Adiehelps 12,000 creators to launch each year.

Finally, look for grants and scholarships specifically dedicated to young creators.

To start a business, you need to have many years of professional experience

False! Without charge or family constraints at the end of school, it is instead the perfect time to undertake!

” If you have a good idea when you leave school, there is nothing stopping you from getting started, as 10% of young graduates do. Admittedly, young creators have little experience and lack a network, but these defects are largely offset by the energy and creativity they display. Moreover, they learn very quickly and adapt much more easily than their elders! “ Enthuses Laurence Piganeau.

Start your own business: 10 tips to get started

1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

“When you start a business , you have to go step by step. The very first thing is to make a personal assessment. What are my real motivations? What are my strengths and weaknesses? Do I have the necessary diplomas and know-how? Am I a good salesperson? Will I be able to convince? Am I a good manager? A good technician?

Once this analysis is done, if you have identified any gaps, you have to ask how to fix it, “ explains Laurence Piganeau, Head of Expertise and Legal Services at AFE (Agence France Entrepreneur).

2. Evaluate your financial situation

Before you start a business , study your financial situation. You probably will not be able to pay for the first year of creation. If you still live with your parents, it is best to stay a little longer!

If you are in post, you have the opportunity to apply for a part-time business start-up. This can be a solution to keep some of your remuneration.

If you have no income and no one can shelter you, do you have savings that will allow you to face the first fixed costs of the business?

3. Find associates

” Young entrepreneurs often create a multi-purpose project. And they are right, it’s a formula that works! explains Laurence Piganeau. The complementarity of skills is a valuable asset when starting a business.

On the other hand, before you start, ask yourself the right questions: do you all have the same vision of the company? Are you in step with its future development? What place does everyone want to have? Who makes what decision? What is the degree of commitment in time and money of each? etc. “

4. Talk about your project around you

“Do not start alone without having confronted your project with experienced people, warns Laurence Piganeau. Know how to listen to them and question yourself. A business owner must have great adaptability. “

5. Get along

It is very important not to be alone and get help from the beginning of your project. Get closer to support organizations such as chambers of commerce and industry (CCI), chambers of trades and crafts, management shops or youth-specific networks, such as MoovJee (see box) , which offers a tutoring system between young designers and experienced entrepreneurs. Most are free or supported by public support systems.

You can also try to enter an incubator or an activity and employment co-operative (CAE) . These structures allow you to test your life-sized project without taking risks. There are some throughout France.

Finally, if you are in contact with entrepreneurs, ask them to advise you. There is great solidarity in the entrepreneur community.

6. Participate in young designer competitions

“Many competitions are organized for young entrepreneurs. Do not hesitate to participate, it’s a good way to let you know! You will be spotted by the media, invited in the shows, the shows … But be reactive because the journalists are people in a hurry! We must be able to respond quickly to their request, “ says Laurence Piganeau.

7. Be very professional!

Your young age and, probably, your lack of professional experience must be offset by the seriousness and professionalism with which you will prepare your business plan.

8. Go to the bottom (a bit …)

Take the lead! Find the media that interests you and can help you based on your activity. Find the right reporter and knock on his door. Do not hesitate to contact entrepreneurs who could open their network. Sign up for corporate design clubs.

9. Do not be discouraged

Not easy to be an entrepreneur … It takes a lot of time and energy. There will be ups and downs, some bad news and a bit of fatigue may demotivate you. But believe in your project and do not give up!

Know how to surround yourself with people (spouse, friends, family, associates, consultants …) who believe in you and know how to reboost you in difficult times.

10. Know how to stop in time

“50% of companies still exist after 5 years, but that does not mean that there are 50% failures: some stop by choice.

That said, even a failure is positive because a business creation is an experience that will allow you to bounce back. Having set up your business, even if it did not work, is a real plus in a resume. Entrepreneurship is a quality sought by recruiters “ , concludes Laurence Piganeau.