MBA entrepreneurs: What makes Lyon, France a hub for entrepreneurship?
As France’s third largest city, Lyon is best known for its reputation as the capital of French gastronomy, its cultural legacy as a UNESCO World Heritage site and world-famous events such as the annual Fête des Lumières, attracting up to 2 million visitors per year. A powerhouse in the banking, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries with a strong education and research infrastructure, Lyon has also developed a reputation as a centre of entrepreneurship, being ranked number 8 in the world for innovation. So what makes Lyon so entrepreneurial and why does it attract MBA entrepreneurs?
MBA entrepreneurs: Access to leading business incubators
The Rhone-Alpes region features many award-winning incubators to support MBA entrepreneurs. The EMLYON Incubator, created in 1984, has so far launched or taken over as many as 950 companies with an 90% 5 year survival rate, creating 11,000 direct jobs. The Incubator is open to all startups in the wider Rhone-Alpes region and was ranked the leading French Business School Incubator by Enterprise magazine in 2012.
Similarly, the Crealys Business Incubator funds MBA entrepreneurs in Lyon who need support with research and academic projects and the Novacité Innovation Business Centre for new companies has over 90% 5 year success rate. The Entrepreneurship Research Centre, located on the EMLYON and Ecole Centrale campuses, furthers the field of entrepreneurship with its research on five key topics: the innovative business start-up process, organisational entrepreneurship, teaching and assessing the effectiveness of entrepreneurship training programmes, assessing public policy covering business start-ups and takeovers and the processes behind fast-growing start-ups.
Previous EMLYON International MBA degree graduates have had support from incubators in the Rhone-Alpes region. Anastom Surgical, an award-winning medical device company was founded by Arnold Ferlin and Renaud Marin, MBA entrepreneurs from the EMLYON MBA class of 2009/2010. After incubation with CREALYS in Lyon, the company successfully developed the technology behind UroLink, a unique circular suturing device specifically to assist surgeons during prostate cancer surgery.
Further, Jonas Couffignal, graduate of EMLYON Business School co-founded Jocee Divisible Boards, a surfboard that could be split into three pieces for easy transit is now selling the surfboards worldwide.
MBA entrepreneurs: Centre for world-leading events in entrepreneurship
The World Entrepreneurship Forum is a world-leading entrepreneurship think tank founded in 2008 by EMLYON and KPMG and later joined by ONLY LYON, Nanyang Technological University, Action Community for Entrepreneurship and Zhejiang University. Bringing together a global network of over 250 entrepreneurs, NGO leaders, politicians and experts from 70 countries, the three day annual event aims to find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues by 2050, by placing entrepreneurs at the centre of wealth creation and social justice. Plus, the Entrepreneurs for the World prestigious awards recognise key individuals who have made a difference to society through their entrepreneurial ventures.
The International MBA degree cohort attended the World Entrepreneurship Forum 2014 which took place Lyon with the theme of Entrepreneurship 3.0, Unlimited Opportunities. Watch the EMLYON cohort interview at WEF 2014 here.
Similarly, there are events to support young aspiring entrepreneurs. For example, the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum, a student movement linked to the World Entrepreneurship Forum, is a community of over 10,000 students and young entrepreneurs worldwide, dedicated to promoting and accelerating youth entrepreneurship. Since its launch in 2010, there have been hundreds of events across the globe.
MBA entrepreneurs: Network of industry clusters
Lyon’s thriving economic activity revolves mainly around competitive industry clusters in biotech, cleantech, urban transport, digital entertainment and technical textiles. Major brands such as Sanofi Pasteur, Lafarge, Atari, Renault Trucks, Rhodia and Group Seb have their headquarters in Lyon. The Lyon area is also home to the nation’s second largest digital hub with over 4,000 digital companies providing 34,000 jobs and 3.5 billion euros in sales.
The city’s entrepreneurial roots go back to the silk trade in the early 19th century and it now boasts 900 foreign-owned companies and 82 companies with over 1,000 employees. With 10,000 new businesses started in 2006 and local policies providing support to 20,000 new business projects every year, Lyon is the most enterprising city in France.
International MBA Programme – world-leading programme for MBA entrepreneurs
Rated by the Financial Times in 2014 as the number 10 MBA in the world for entrepreneurship, participants of the International Masters of Business Administration study and work in a real-life global business environment amongst an international group of students. With a number of international learning trips, a 9-month, part-time Entrepreneurial Leadership Project with an organisation alongside the studies, plus EMLYON’s reputation as a leader in entrepreneurship education, the International MBA is the right choice for aspiring MBA entrepreneurs.