My career path is a bit atypical because before I joined EM Normandie, I already had an engineering degree. I was admitted to the Specialised Master’s Degree (final year of the Master’s course) based on the qualifications that I already had. The business school had a partnership with HEC Entrepreneurs and I was really keen to use that year to put together my plans for a business. I was looking for a network and a fertile atmosphere to turn my idea into reality. My admission interview went really well. I remember the panel saying that they could feel the entrepreneurship oozing out of me! So I was right to decide to return to my studies.
I really gelled with the other members of my year group, and a lucky coincidence meant I met my business partner through my course.
Initiate, take risks and reinvente yourself
10 years ago, digital wasn’t such a big thing as it is today, and our idea came from the fact that banks hadn’t managed to create a suitable solution for vendors to take online payments. Very quickly, we created a solution that was both simple to integrate and also easy for vendors to use. Our focus was online payment but we were also interested in sustainable development, so we gave users the option to add on a few pence as a charitable donation when making a payment.
But being an entrepreneur isn’t always straightforward. The first product that we distributed wasn’t a success and so we couldn’t pay ourselves a wage. But I was lucky, I had people around me who were always supportive and let me fulfill my ambitions. Now Paygreen is firmly established and we’ve just hired some new people - our efforts are bearing fruit. We recently raised 1 million euros in capital so we’re really seeing the results of our hard work. I’ve got no regrets! When you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got high adrenalin and the thrill of taking risks! You can fail a hundred times but the day it all comes together, you’re on top of the world!
Solidarity in action
When I was at business school, our programme leader, himself an alumnus, really motivated me. Another alumnus was one of the first people to believe in us and help push our project forward! Meeting people who encourage you is so important. The business school community offers a lot of mutual support. Now I feel like it’s my turn to give today’s students an energy boost. I really want to give them a passion for entrepreneurship and I’m more than happy to give up my time to do that.
Etienne's advice :
" Make the most of your talents and don’t box yourself in if you have that get-up-and-go feeling. I know so many people who are enormously talented but who are too scared to push themselves forward. Don’t hang back if you feel you have the strength and talent to really make your mark. "