When mentioning startups and digital innovation, one immediately thinks of Silicon Valley in the Bay Area. But the largest startup campus in the world is located not in California, but on the Rive Gauche, in the very center of Paris. This innovation hub, called Station F, hosts more than 1,000 startups and offers a range of programs and services designed to help new businesses. Here, up-and-coming entrepreneurs can find office space and resources, participate in daily workshops and events, and tap into an existing community of investors.
This spring, a group of MBA students from the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Management at Purdue University visited Station F and the enterprises hosted within. Their goal was to explore the world of startups in France. The group met with Mey Parnian, an independent B2B Sales Consultant in fashion and technology, who works with Fitle, a company housed at one of the incubators at Station F. Fitle works with fashion companies, providing support for their online shopping platforms. By adding personalized questions and information, they help customers find the perfect size for them, reducing the risk of returns. With Parnian, students discussed cultural differences, trends in the startup world, and what it means to start your own business in France and in the US.
The group also discussed the work of the incubator hosting Fitle, called La Maison des Startups. Part of the luxury group LVMH, La Maison has the objective of accelerating startups working in the luxury sector and facilitating new business by putting them in contact with potential customers and investors. Through its work, La Maison bridges the gap between tradition and innovation, with digital startups supporting businesses in sectors with a long history in Paris, such as the fashion and luxury industry.
In this visit, students explored French entrepreneurship through specific case studies and meetings with local professionals. They also learned of the increasing impact of digital innovation on various economic sectors, including high-value French exports, such as fashion and luxury products.
Accent collaborates with U.S. partners during the program design process to identify company visits, expert guest speakers, and other experiential learning activities to complement program learning goals. Please reach out to Accent’s Program Development team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in discussing these ideas for your customized study abroad programs.