Tuesday, October 25, 2011 | 2:02 PM
Not everyone can go to business school and be trained to start a successful company. Not everyone grows up in entrepreneurial centers such as Silicon Valley. Yet many of us, no matter where we are born or our education, have an entrepreneurial streak just waiting to be released.
In order to encourage entrepreneurs, Google France recently launched a Startup Café, an online platform offering information and tools required by entrepreneurs to launch a business. Several business schools and the Agency for the Creation of Entrepreneurs have joined us in this exciting venture.
David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President, recently gave Eric Besson, French Minister in charge of Industry, Energy and Digital Economy a first-hand view of the cafe at the recent Summit A New World 2.0. He also met with some French entrepreneurs to understand their challenges in starting a business in France.
While all countries could benefit from a startup boost, we started this “café” first in France because it has a lower level of entrepreneurial activity than in the European Union average, according to a report from the European Commission. Some studies point three main reasons for the lagging French performance: inadequate education and information (fewer than a fifth of French students receive business training), widespread fear of failure (while a third of employees express a desire to start their own company, more than half of them cite fear of bankruptcy for not proceeding) and finally, the significant amount of time required to obtain the legal and practical information required to launch one’s own business.
The French start-up café attempts to respond to these three weaknesses. It features high quality video content produced by business schools designed for entrepreneurs. It includes a toolbox of IT products helpful in starting a business. Finally, the café promotes the best organizations, institutions, programs that are available for entrepreneurs through a geo mashup: enter your location, the type of support you need, and find the information you need to grow your company.
Cafés are convivial places where friends and colleagues gather for a drink and conversation. Our start-up café also is designed to promote networking. So try out the site - and since you are in a café, sip of a strong espresso and launch a great business.