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With GEFstartup, entrepreneurship shows off its feminine side

Other innovations
02/11/2015

GEFstartup’s goal is to support women project leaders. The event, which will be held from November 27th to 29th, aims to attract a large audience of women from all backgrounds. ENGIE is a sponsor of this event.

Paris’s L’Ecole 42, founded by Xavier Niel, will host the two day long second edition of GEFstartup Weekend, which is being held by GEF Grandes Ecoles au Féminin (GEF). The only requirement for participating is that the project leader has to be a woman. No rules about degree, age or sector. "We want project leaders from all areas to ensure social diversity," says Marie Aichagui, GEFstartup’s project manager and an entrepreneur.

Promoting women project leaders

The event’s organizers are rely on many networks to recruit the project leaders. Among them the GEF, which includes alumnae from ten prestigious schools (Centrale Paris, ENA, Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech, ESCP Europe, ESSEC, HEC, INSEAD, Mines Paris Tech, Polytechnique and Sciences Po). "Women often work in startups from the very beginning, but don’t dare to promote themselves as a cofounders,” says Clarisse Reille, the president of GEF. “We need to develop their entrepreneurial expertise, and give them a voice. There are more and more models out there and they need to be visible." A challenge that is all the more important given that only one in ten innovative companies in France is created by a woman. Then again, the point of the event is not to be exclusive to women: men may also register as team members.

Two intensive days and nights

Participants will get together on the evening of Friday the 27th for a initial coaching session on how to build an effective pitch. The test will take place the very next morning! "We chose the simplest formula: one slide, one minute,” says Marie Aichagui. “This really lets you see who has the most clear and attractive idea.” Fifteen projects will be selected based on the following criteria: ideas, leadership, motivation and conviction. Project leaders will then have two days and two nights to build their team. And to work on their concept, which will be presented on Sunday to a committee made up of well-known entrepreneurs.

Hackathon format

Coaches will be present to support the project leaders, helping them through a hackathon-inspired format. Designers, marketers, financiers, developers and even people with no particular expertise but a desire to do business. Men and women alike are invited join a group of inspired project leaders and to help make their projects a reality by joining their teams. Lastly, on December 3rd, the winners will receive prizes in four categories, one each for Audacity, Digital, Societal, Impact and Climate. They’ll be competing for spaces in incubation at Creative Valley, training sessions by The Family and customized support from the TAJ firm.

Open Innov by ENGIE, a natural partner

GEFstartup’s partner is Open Innov by ENGIE, who will present the Climate award. The Group is providing major support for the event by promoting it and providing teams of professionals who will share their expertise in innovation with the candidates.

Want to participate? Registration is currently open here

Source: ENGIE