See the final pitches of the Climb#02 startups on December 11 at thecamp! Register here.
Charging an electric vehicle anywhere in the city, knowing where the food you’re eating comes from and how it was produced, having a beehive on your balcony and producing your own honey without getting stung by bees… it all seems impossible, right? Yet all these ideas are currently in their development phase as part of Climb, the startup acceleration program at Le Village by CAAP at thecamp.
Ten businesses are taking part in the program’s second edition. Selected from among 150 applicants from 30 countries, the participants are all proposing innovative solutions in the fields of food of the future and sustainable mobility. This choice of themes is no coincidence, since it addresses the urgent need for tomorrow’s businesses everywhere in the world to have a positive impact on humanity and the environment.
After three months of intensive training, support and introductions to potential partners, the startups are now in the final stretch. The program includes, among other things, 110 hours of workshops, 60 hours of individual coaching, 25 mentors, five target areas (business strategy, UX design, sales, operations and soft skills), demonstrations for investors and exhibitions at leading trade shows.
And the results? Talks with potential financial and manufacturing partners are at an advanced stage, business models have been picked apart and fine-tuned, the skills of the entrepreneurs and their teams have been developed and, above all, each project’s visibility has been greatly enhanced with important stakeholders.
All this reflects the kind of leverage the thecamp ecosystem provides. “thecamp is a couple dozen partners, including some major corporations present in France and overseas,” notes Yann Lhuissier, general manager in charge of development at the Crédit Agricole Alpes Provence bank, adding, “Its strength is in its rich and open ecosystem.” The Crédit Agricole is a founding partner of thecamp and co-manages its accelerator. Le Village by CAAP at thecamp is part of a network of 41 incubators under the “Le Village by CA” banner, set up by Crédit Agricole in France and overseas to support startup growth in countries where the group is present.
The Mission and Advantages of an Accelerator Like No Other
Le Village by CAAP at thecamp is underpinned by the same values as those on which thecamp’s mission was founded, making a world that is more human and more sustainable. Its strength lies in two unique characteristics. First of all, it benefits from synergies provided by the Le Village by CA incubator network, such as preferred introductions to its 486 partners (SMEs, major groups, institutions, chambers of commerce…) as well as to Crédit Agricole group clients. It also has direct, high-level access to all thecamp’s other founding members.
The projects accelerated at Climb are presented to the directors and decision-makers of groups such as Airbus, Air France, AccorHotels, RATP, SNCF Gares & Connexions, Sodexo and VINCI Energies, companies to which the creators would never have had access on their own so quickly. The startups are also mentored and supervised on a daily basis by the biggest names in their domains, among them Tim Papandreou (expert in sustainable mobility), Audra Shallal (investor), Isadora Bigourdan (French development agency AFD), Alexis Ross (Salesforce), Romain Serman (Bpifrance San Francisco), Marcel Dridje (Sophia Antipolis Business Angels) and Jérôme Maurice (City of Montreal), all mentors to whom the startups wouldn’t necessarily have access.
Concrete results for the startups participating in Climb#02 are already taking shape: three of them have presented their projects to the world’s third-largest DIY group and sixth-largest French retailer; an innovative process developed by two Ukrainians will be manufactured in France with a local partner; three projects from an Italian startup are in the proof of concept phase with Airbus, and, lastly, an invention by a young Marseille-based company is being trialed in a restaurant managed by Sodexo. All in just three months.
Who Can Take Part in the Climb Acceleration Program?
Entrepreneurs must be in phase with the key principles of thecamp: to develop sustainable and inclusive solutions that create a positive impact on society and the environment. Their companies must be incorporated and must have a team of between one and three working full time on the project. Startups must be able to show either a prototype or an MVP. Lastly, applicant businesses must have a real desire to become part of the region’s economic landscape (the program can provide an allowance towards the cost of accommodation). More information at this link.
Labster: An Entrepreneurship Program for Young People of All Backgrounds
“We are enriched by our mutual differences,” as Pashû Christensen, Le Village by CAAP at thecamp’s director of sourcing and marketing, quoting Paul Valéry, likes to remind us. “Here, we consider diversity to be the key to innovation: the more the entrepreneurs are different and open to the world, the more they’ll be inclined to develop sustainable and inclusive solutions.” Diversity comes from the projects – their topic, their development, their aim – but it also comes from the social and cultural origins of the entrepreneurs themselves.
That’s why all thecamp’s acceleration programs are aiming to increase diversity over their coming editions, starting with Labster, the free one-week immersive program for young entrepreneurs aged 18-26, with no qualification prerequisites. Candidates need to have an innovative idea that they would one day like to see realized by starting their own company. Labster helps them transform their idea into concrete projects by providing them with structuring concepts and by challenging their perceptions. “These young people come here to get a feel of what entrepreneurship really is; they learn the fundamentals of the thinking process, they receive coaching and have their models challenged,” explains program director Laetitia Chabannes.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for us to identify future startuppers,” adds accelerator director Sofiane Ammar.
The coming editions of the Labster program will continue to open its doors wide to those young people who are the farthest removed from the entrepreneurship ladder circles. “The overwhelming majority of project carriers come from elite schools,” points out Laetitia, adding, “To ensure a minimum level of diversity, we also work with associations in the field here in the South region to offer Labster to youngsters with no qualifications or from a technical school background and who simply have a good idea!” On a similar note, female entrepreneurship is also a priority for thecamp’s programs, since women applicants are, unfortunately, still a very small minority.
This richness is even more evident at thecamp due to the peer-to-peer principle underlying its programs, in which the participants gain mutual enrichment through their interaction with each other.