Interview with an entrepreneur from an association sponsored by the CYLAD Foundation
Today we interview Marion Robert, consultant at CYLAD Consulting and coordinator of relations for CYLAD Foundation, and Lucie Breton, founder of the company L’emplacement and 2017 laureate of Réseau Entreprendre Occitanie Garonne.
Marion, could you, in few words, introduce us to CYLAD Foundation and the association you have with Réseau Entreprendre Occitanie Garonne (REOG)?
MR: CYLAD Foundation is a corporate foundation created in 2012 whose objective is to promote professional and social integration through entrepreneurial creation and training. The Foundation offers the time and skills of CYLAD Consulting partners and consultants and provides financial assistance to non-profit associations and support the development of businesses. To date, we are supporting French associations: Réseau Entreprendre Ile de France, Réseau Entreprendre Occitanie Garonne (REOG), ADIE Ile de France, and ADIE Occitanie. Our support for these organizations can range from coaching entrepreneurs to pitch to investors to providing advice on business cases or development plans. These activities are fully in line with the CSR approach launched this year by CYLAD.
Lucie, can you present your company and your journey within the Entreprendre Occitanie Garonne network (REOG)?
LB: I created the company L’Emplacement in 2016, and I was fortunate to be a laureate of REOG in 2017. L’Emplacement is the first real estate agency dedicated to boutiques and brief events. We accompany all types of companies throughout France. We adapt our offer and services according to the needs of our clients and play a consultancy role in order to increase their chances of success. These services can include prospecting locations and a variety of offerings in retail management, media relations, and event planning.
REOG accompanies and advises how to connect various individuals in order to bring a wide range of skills and experiences to its laureates. Thanks to the association, I have been introduced to the CYLAD Foundation.
How was the interaction with CYLAD and what were the benefits?
LB: CYLAD Foundation has accompanied me as part of various monthly appointments on specific topics. The first appointment, for example, was focused on the redefinition of the value proposition and the adequacy with the market both from a marketing and business point of view with the emphasis on prospecting. Then we focused on the financial aspects with the preparation of a forecast budget considering the strategic evolutions and setting up management indicators in order to control activities more closely.
For two years, the road has been winding, there have been many evolutions and pivots before arriving at the offer as it is today. After having suffered serious commercial setbacks, a strategic repositioning was inevitable and the accompaniment, expertise and strategic vision of CYLAD were very beneficial.
Marion, which skills do you use to coach these entrepreneurs?
MR: The consultants leverage their analytical capabilities when advising a company on their business plan, for example. We also utilize structuring and problem-solving methodologies when entrepreneurs are faced with strategic choices. Beyond core business skills, we also incorporate many “soft skills” such as listening, empathizing, and asking questions, which allows us to guide and advise the entrepreneurs better.
How is this initiative experienced by CYLAD consultants involved?
MR: This experience is very rewarding for the consultants involved. First, it allows us to discover new sectors that are generally very different from the industrial sectors in which we are specialized.
Second, the participants we engage with are also very different. We also enrich ourselves by exchanging with startups and entrepreneurs. It is a very rewarding experience to be able to add value and create impact for these young companies.
A final word on your respective projects?
LB: L’Emplacement has been expanded with two recruitments at the beginning of 2019.The aim is to develop the activity, take a maximum share of markets in the sector in order to become a key player in France and especially in the province. 2019 will be for us a year of consolidation of the activity, we already have contracts in Bordeaux and prospecting requests in the 10 largest cities in France. Within three years, the ambition is to solicit investors in order to accelerate the national development and then the international of our business.
MR: As for the CYLAD foundation, we have a new partnership with ADIE Occitanie, an association that helps people in financial difficulties to create their own business and jobs through microcredit. As part of the firm’s CSR policy, we also plan to involve more CYLAD consultants in the support of these associations. This is an element of motivation for the teams to work on other topics in addition to the projects with our customers.
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