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11 June 2019

With Start-up Week, Montpellier Business School becomes the largest Start-up incubator in France and reinvents the wine sector

With Start-up Week, Montpellier Business School becomes the largest Start-up incubator in France and reinvents the wine sector

The 5th edition of Start-Up Week was held from May 13th to the 17th on the Montpellier Business School (MBS) campus. This team business game challenges all of the 800 final year students in the Grande Ecole Program to create a business. This year, the 100 projects developed aim the revitalization of the wine sector: digital distribution, original packaging, wine tourism, immersion games…in this edition, the entrepreneurial creativity of future graduates has hugely impressed the jury.

A challenge based on the complementarity and professionalism of students

Start-Up Week brings together more than 800 students over 5 days around a unique theme: creating an innovative start-up offering a new line of services on the wine market. Supervised by a dozen coaches who are experts in the field and guided by 7 conferences of entrepreneurship professionals, the 100 or so teams compete all week long around complete daily exercises. “This last week allowed us to apply what we learned throughout the course: Business Strategy, Management, Marketing, Finance…” says Juliette, a student in the in the field of web marketing and CRM.

These teams are composed of students representing each of the different specializations taught in the final year. “We especially appreciated the fact that we mixed the profiles in the teams. It was really the most complementary and realistic thing.” explain Laura, Julie and Tiffany, finalists of the event.

The wine sector in the spotlight

Among all the sectors and issues available, it is the wine sector that has been selected by the Montpellier Business School Entrepreneurship Centre, a team whose mission is to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in all its diversity. “It is no coincidence that we have chosen this market. The wine sector has historically found in Occitania a large pool of world-renowned producers”, explains Katherine Gundolf, Director of Montpellier Business School Entrepreneurship Centre.

In recent years, the same market has been experiencing economic upheavals that are forcing professionals to find innovative solutions: climate change may lead to a shift in the places where vines are grown, practitioners close to retirement have difficulty finding buyers, and there is a rise wine consumption in new areas such as China and the United States.

The 1st prize of the jury

Faced with these challenges, three groups with radically different projects managed to make their mark, relying on the latest digital technologies. In third place, the group of start-up apprentices opted for a 100% B to B solution to connect independent producers with RMCs (Cafés, Hotels, Restaurants). They have thus devised a responsible digital platform enabling producers to deliver their wine “in bulk” directly to catering professionals. At the second step of the podium, the students decided to surf on the trend of professional seminars and wine tourism. Their project was therefore based on the concept of a digital travel agency allowing prospects to create their own tourist tour in the vineyards via a mobile application.

“But if you can’t visit the vines, the vines will come to you,” pitches the winning group of the event. Also based on tourism but also tasting, the strong bias of the winning project consists in the “vinification of Parisian rooftops”. Thus, still with the objective of making Paris’ roofs greener, the project is setting up “Discovery of the winemaking process” workshops in a festive, modern setting that is closer to the consumers. The event ended with an emotional award ceremony. Indeed, for the vast majority of students, Start-up Week was also their last week on campus, leaving room for the writing of their final thesis. Fyrthermore, this Business Game results from the school’s desire to conclude the students’ training by making them realize that each one of them is a potential future entrepreneur, which is proof of the importance given to entrepreneurship among the major axes of his teaching.

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