I've just graduated. What now?
Hello, Noura! To begin with, can you tell us about your educational and professional background?
I started taking STG prep classes at the LVV in Niort (a great prep programme, both human and hard-working). Then, I joined the ESC programme at KEDGE BS in 2011. I had the choice between several business schools, but I chose KEDGE for two reasons. First of all, I fell in love with Bordeaux: I immediately felt really good in the city. Additionally, we received a really warm welcome when we came for the welcome days, during which CYRUS NORTH and his staff gave their all, and really made me want to join the school. It remains a fond memory. Then, student life set in, the classes, the exams, but also the activities during the BDE/BDA/BDS campaigns, which were memorable. The first year, the common core, I joined the association Transaction to learn more about finance and market rooms. Then I decided to pursue the Management Control - Internal Audit work-study programme for my Masters with RTE SA (a subsidiary of EDF SA).
After graduating from KEDGE, I joined MAZARS in Bordeaux in 2014. After a year and a half, I decided to take a nine month break to launch my project OUIEXPAT. Since the end of 2016 until now, I have been working as a financial auditor for the firm A3C, based in Cenon.
Tell us about OUIEXPAT, your start-up project.
My startup project OUIEXPAT, consists in the creation of a web application to support French expats and future expats living abroad. We offer certified video testimonies of expat experiences, with an online store. I got the idea when, after graduating from KEDGE, I wanted to do a VIE in Dubai. The information on life in the city was spread everywhere, incomplete, and not necessarily reliable. So I went there to make my own opinion. When I came back, I was frustrated that I had not been able to find feedback from local expats, which would have helped me make my decision. That is why in the end I declined the VIE offer, and joined Mazars. In parallel, I worked on my idea with my partner, who really helped me move forward. During my professional break, I joined the incubator Les Premières Nouvelle Aquitaine, which helped me build my project. With the incubator, I participated in workshops and met with experts who helped me with my project in many ways (visual identity, economic model, graphic charter, fundraising, web development...etc.). Since November 2017, I have joined the KEDGE BS Bordeaux incubator, where I am being supported by an amazing coach Rihane MOUHIB, who is constantly challenging me, thanks to her experience, and is bringing her complementary view point to my entrepreneurial vision.
How has the project been received around you, and what are your objectives for the future?
Our short- to medium-term objectives are to create a responsive website, which includes a web application, and an online boutique specialised in boxes for French expats and/or amateurs of French gastronomy. We also want to create partnerships with regional business owners/artisans and conduct our first fundraising operation before the end of the year.
We participated in the 2016 edition of the Start-up weekend, and were among the top 3 projects to be selected during the first pitch to move our project forward throughout the weekend. We didn't win, but we had the opportunity to meet great people, and stimulating coaches and trainers. This experience helped us test our idea among professionals, and helped us grow. I was also invited to the 2017 JNDA edition at the Bordeaux Town Hall, as a young entrepreneur, which resulted in several articles in the press:
How did your time at KEDGE Business School help you become who you are today, and how did what you learn help you develop your project?
My time at KEDGE was rich in learning both in school and professionally. Indeed, I had the chance to do a work-study programme, so I was able to immediately put in practice what I was learning in school within a professional environment. Management, management control, audit, as well as team work and spirit are things that you can only learn in situation. The experience helped me evolve in my career as an auditor, but also helped me develop my entrepreneurial interest, which had always been there.
If you had one piece of advice for KEDGERS that want to be entrepreneurs, what would it be?
If I had one piece of advice, it would be: Dare to go for it, anything is possible if you believe in yourself and in your dreams, and if you don't give up.
Anything to add?
As part of the OUIEXPAT project, we recently launched a survey for French expats and future French expats, as well as amateurs of French gastronomy. We invite all KEDGE Alumni living abroad to take a few minutes to respond to the survey:
We are also calling on anyone who would be interested in getting involved and/or investing in the project to contact us at: email@example.com. We have had the opportunity to connect with creative and enriching people thus far. We want to continue the adventure in the same spirit and grow our team with people specialised in web development, communication, marketing, web design.
To learn more:
Website (currently being revamped): www.ouiexpat.com