We attended the Train the Coordinators Meeting & general project management meeting of the “Youth Enterprise Accelerator” happened in Paris, from 9th – 13th November. This has been my second time to Paris only, and never in a work/ business capacity. Many months and weeks of planning have gone into this meeting and we were excited to see our partners again. For us, Ashford Place and One Planet Ventures, the journey to Paris was pretty straightforward. We took the Eurostar to Paris from Kings Cross and a couple of hours later we were there.
The first day was spent on project administration/ management and we got to know our recently recruited external evaluator Mr Jean-Luc Moreau. The meetings took place at Apprentis D’Auteuil’s HQ, a large group of buildings on this 150 year old foundation. We met with the General Director of the foundation, François Content, in the afternoon. He was intrigued by the developments and generally interested in our work of establishing youth enterprise incubator programmes in some of the locations AD works in (such as Marseille).
On the second day we started the training of the other coordinators and we shared our different approaches to business incubation that the 3 experienced partners, iq consult (Germany), Ashford Place (UK) and One Planet Ventures (UK) are following. The approaches vary in some degrees with iq consult & One Planet Ventures being more aligned, following a formal programme (eg 12-week incubator programme + follow-on support), whereas Ashford Place’s support is more longer-term but also less formalised. Common elements of all enterprise support programmes included:
- Workshops & sessions on business development
- Mentoring/ coaching of entrepreneurs
- Space provision (office space, making space, retail space where possible)
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in France and are looking forward to working with our partners to support them to establish their own Youth Enterprise Accelerators/ Incubators for young entrepreneurs.