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[SSE MONTH] CRÉENSO: An IÉSEG student helps a start-up to grow

The CRÉENSO Prize, the National Prize for the Creator of a Social Enterprise, aims to reward and promote the innovative and economically viable projects of men and women who create social businesses. The winners of the CRÉENSO Prize benefit from a skills sponsorship program by IÉSEG students.

Rosalie LAISNE, a student in the Master cycle of the Grande École Program, took part in the CRÉENSO adventure to support the company “La Picorée” and tells us how it worked out.

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Can you tell us a little more about the company you worked with as part of CRÉENSO and the issues you addressed?

I helped the company “La Picorée” whose founder, Pauline RENARD, was affected by the loss of a loved one to cancer. During the entire treatment of this ill person, the future founder of “La Picorée” noticed that cancer patients are at risk of malnutrition and must therefore be fed with special formulas. At the time, there were only very medicalized and not very tasty products on the market, and there were no alternatives for people who wanted to take care of the planet and their bodies through their consumption choices. Pauline RENARD decided to create an eco-friendly and quality brand for people in a situation of undernutrition that would be both responsible for the planet and good for the body, while remaining effective. When I joined “La Picorée” , the team was at the stage where the research and development was almost complete, so they knew which products would be commercialized. However, the launch had not yet been done and the company needed help to develop a digital marketing strategy to ensure the successful launch of the products on the market.

Can you explain how this experience unfolded through the support of “La Picorée”?

Before starting this project, I wanted to add some practical experience to my academic background, and when I saw this proposition of elective, I was immediately interested. Before we get in touch with a company, we attend classes to understand what a social and solidarity enterprise (SSE) is and what the role of a consultant is. Then, we take part in the selection jury of the companies (we received about sixty files). Finally, the students decide on the project they like the most. I immediately chose “La Picorée” because it was a project that was close to my heart, having experienced a similar situation with a relative. During the launch day on the Paris-La Défense campus, we met with the company that had been assigned to us. This gave us the opportunity to talk to the entrepreneur for the first time. Thus, I was able to lay the foundations of the project with Pauline in order to understand her expectations in detail. Following this first meeting, we exchanged weekly by video, as she was in Montpellier and I was in Lille. Between each meeting, I continued to work on the digital marketing strategy to ensure the launch of the brand in the summertime. I went once to Montpellier to meet the team, discover the production factory and their premises.

What do you retain from this professional experience?

It was one of the best choices I made at IÉSEG. I have taken away a lot of things from it. You have to be aware that it’s a demanding project but, thanks to the schedule of the Master’s program, you can devote yourself to other activities. You just have to be well organized – I learned to manage my time and to be rigorous. Since I was in the Marketing Management major, I didn’t necessarily have all the knowledge I needed about digital marketing specifically, but the research I had to do for this project allowed me to increase my skills in this area. It also taught me to train myself on certain topics. It also opened my perspectives and made me realize the importance of maintaining professional relationships over the long term. In the end, I only retain positive things from it even if it was not easy every day. This experience also helped me to find an internship later on. It was also easier for me to understand the courses at the school because I could put the theory into practice directly.

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What can the CRÉENSO experience bring you for your future professional life?

First of all, it allowed me to stand out from the competition when it came to finding my internship. Indeed, it is not very common to have been a junior consultant for a company. Then, I learned what the work of a consultant actually consisted in and why to call upon it. I was able to project myself as a consultant and I liked it.

What advice would you give to a student who wants to participate in the CRÉENSO adventure?

Don’t hesitate to ask for help! At first, I didn’t dare to do so because I was afraid that people would think that I wasn’t competent enough for this project. Very quickly, I understood that it was okay to ask for help and that it could be, on the contrary, very beneficial and allow me to become more efficient. Another piece of advice: be organized, and do it with passion!

A final word?

This experience is an opportunity to discover our own School from another point of view, in the sense that we meet professors who follow us on the project in a collaborative way, without a hierarchical relationship. This allows us to create links with very interesting people. The cocktail party at the end of the project with different stakeholders of IÉSEG also allows us to meet interesting people. So don’t hesitate to go for it!