You are the President of IME (National Network of Entrepreneurship Guidance Institutes for High Growth Small and Medium Enterprises) and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paris. Since your beginnings, has the business creation world been yours?
Dominic Restino (DR .)). Yes it is undeniable. In 1986, when I was 24, I set up my first company with two friends: a placement agency and temporary work with a network of agencies where 1,200 people work every day. We sold it after 20 years and it has a turnover of 35 million euros. At the time, we didn’t say “I want to do entrepreneurship”. I had to make a living and wanted to try. Since then, I have dedicated my career to the world of business and entrepreneurship, and my main mission has been to support young people who drop out of school to start.
How do you define your entrepreneurial spirit?
Benedict Sanson (BS). I didn’t like being in an organization and relying on the hierarchy. I had a lot of ideas and wanted to go fast. At the time, doing this was less easy and it took a while to get started. I founded my first company, Florescens, to help French VSE companies find their markets. I was immediately drawn into the world of VSE and SMB because what I care about and still cares about is seeing my impact tangible and easily noticeable on small structures. Being passionate about marketing, I noticed that companies without a marketing strategy would sink quickly, and thanks to Florenscens, I embarked on this idea to help VSEs structure their marketing approach.
How do you cross paths?
Bachelor of. I started to get scared in my stomach because I was alone and without support except for some practical aspects. I was wondering my way of doing it when Dominique Restino (in 2007) opened the mentoring program at CCI Paris Ile-de-France, intended for companies with very high growth potential. Of course, I did not meet the criteria, but I wanted to meet him. It took nine months to answer, but when we met, we realized we share the same values. He told me about one of his projects: the one that would become Moovjee.
How did the idea to create Moovjee come about?
Dr. I discovered mentoring in Quebec in 2005 and this support approach has become my guiding principle. As a young elected member of the Paris Ile-de-France CCI, I quickly noticed that 97% of French companies have fewer than 20 employees. I was convinced of the idea that to grow a business, you have to grow entrepreneurs. Not on technique, but on ‘attitude’, the corporate culture that is the main focus of the company.
This is guidance for me. I considered starting a company a real life choice. With Bénédicte Sanson, we totally shared that point of view. Our idea was to support these young people between the ages of 18-30 in the acquisition or creation process because there is a real potential in these young people who are underappreciated. I knew that if I didn’t make something like that, I would regret it my whole life, so we took the lead and Moovjee was born in 2009.
What are Moovjee’s founding values and your key areas of support?
DR and BS. Youth is at the heart of our philosophy and Moovjee is based on a strong commitment to youth trust, benevolence and participation. Young people are the first natural wealth of a country. For a country located in the heart of the world, you need young people who know how to build their future. And every young man should have the possibility to choose entrepreneurship (create or take over a company) in his first career, regardless of his training and whatever the sector of activity.
Building on this philosophy, we have directed our business to three axes: personal support focused on the mentorship program, the promotion of youth entrepreneurship, and the revitalization of a generational community.
What is guidance and the relationship it generates based on?
Bachelor of. Mentoring is personal support of a confidential nature, provided by an experienced entrepreneur (mentor) to a new entrepreneur (intern) or facing new challenges for a year. The mentor does not provide advice but accompanies, motivates, helps take a step back, and promotes the development of the trainee’s experience by asking questions and opening up the field of possibilities – with the aim of contributing to the growth of the entrepreneur, and therefore of the company.
Dr. A mentoring relationship is a personal relationship of support, discussion and learning. In 2013, together with the state, I created a “Guidance Charter for Entrepreneurs” where I introduce the basics of the relationship. The mentor and the intern are not in the same sector of activity and share complete confidentiality because it allows for really talking. They choose each other even if they help us build pairs. We have a mentor for a year because we have to dig deeper into the topic before we completely give ourselves up. The basis of the relationship is trust and kindness. The experience a mentor can provide is not imparted, it is shared.
When is entrepreneurship directed?
Dr. It intervenes in the development stage of the company. In fact, the trainees are young people who have already passed the stage of setting up a business and want to solidify the foundations of their business. The association’s primary work, guiding entrepreneurs, serves the main objective of Mofjee: to maintain business creation among young people and to develop employment opportunities in France. Since the creation of Moovjee (a member of the Mentoring France network we established with Bénédicte in 2014), 2,800 young people have been supported as part of the mentorship programme.
What do you think is necessary to best support these young people?
Bachelor of. It’s how we look at this young man and how we perceive him. These young people are our peers and when they finish their studies, they don’t want to hear what they have to do. They have strong ideas and have understood the need to respond to their surroundings. You have to give them control, not try to influence them, but welcome what they are and what you want to do, considering that they are already entrepreneurs. Our only job is to let them have the boldness and give them the lead to increase their chances of success.
Dr. We expanded our mentoring system when Moovjee was state approved as part of the ‘1 Young, 1 Solve’ scheme inviting “1 Young Man, 1 Mentor” for projects. Thus, all young candidates can get the orientation free of charge. Since launching this plan in July 2021, it has responded largely to the call to double the number of youth supported each year by 6.
As President of CCI Paris Ile-de-France, how do you see the evolution of the business world?
Dr. Paris Ile-de-France CCI is a very specific organization and is also a full hub with Business Schools, Gobelins, Ferrandi Culinary School and Attitude Day Digital School that we created with La Colline Factory. In all of our courses, we have created Entrepreneurship Modules aimed at helping young people stand out in creating or taking charge of a business, whether using digital tools or in the ‘attitude’.
I see there are guys out there who want to take over. Young people no longer want to wait 10 years to find the job they love. They already have corporate experience (especially via internships), which we had less than 30 years ago. I also think there will be more development in crafts and craftsmanship as there are also a lot of innovations in electronics, home automation, digital and connected things…
What was your intention for founding the Moovjee Prize and what do you remember from the old 2022 film?
Bachelor of. This award aims to highlight this young man. It allows them to be exposed, to identify themselves. It’s the “big party” for young entrepreneurs and we were the first to do it. This award also aims to make the community aware of the fact that a young entrepreneur at the age of twenty is a credible person. Both the economy and society should have a different view of entrepreneurship.
Dr. The winners of the Moveji Prize 2022 clearly reflect the desire of young people to participate. This year, our theme was “Let’s Change Angles, Let’s Change Perspectives with Young Entrepreneurs”. A strong theme chosen to promote the new path that young people are opening up for us through their dynamism and vision. By doing a clean survey of the past, recycling the old, they innovate, improve the lives of their neighbour, their neighborhood, their district… Of the 350 candidates, 58% are from outside Ile-de-France and the projects are as creative as meaningful carriers.
In your opinion, what are the current challenges facing young entrepreneurs?
Dr. They want influence and no longer want to start a business to start a business. They also want to bring something more, a better life. The difficulty they face today is that everything is going very fast. Speed and immediacy must be taken into consideration in a very important way.
What message do you want to send today to young people who want to get started?
Bachelor of. I want to tell them “Listen to yourself and dare to go the way you want to without being affected. You have to know how to listen to yourself and listen to your deepest convictions.”
Dr. Whether through a mentorship program or other support networks, don’t be left alone. You must be accompanied because an accompanied entrepreneur is more likely to succeed than a single person.