Sorbonne University launches its student-entrepreneur degree

At the beginning of the 2015 academic year, Sorbonne University’s plan to raise awareness of entrepreneurship and to support student entrepreneurs - with the Pépite of Central Paris - added a new training program: training to give young entrepreneurs the basic knowledge needed to realize their business venture. This student-entrepreneur degree (known as D2E from the French diplôme étudiant-entrepreneur) is being offered by Paris-Sorbonne University.

To prepare themselves for an increasingly dynamic economic and professional environment, university students cannot simply rely on the depth of their knowledge in a particular field. They also need to equip themselves with a set of transversal skills which encourage their ability to adapt. For Sorbonne University, entrepreneurial culture is clearly a part of the complementary mix that students must be able to acquire during their studies. This is why, in 2014, the community established one of the 29 student centers in France for innovation, transfer and entrepreneurship, known as Pépite in French, and approved by the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research. 


This center, called the Pépite of Central Paris, aims, like its counterparts, to raise student awareness about entrepreneurship and also to support and train those who have a business venture. Therefore, in accordance with the French Ministry’s directives, Sorbonne University has just implemented a student-entrepreneur degree (D2E), taught by Paris-Sorbonne University, which starts at the beginning of the 2015 academic year. 


Learn while developing your business venture

The 50 hours of training spread over the academic year are based on learning by doing. Management, marketing, developing a business model, accounting, corporate law, communication and so on: this training must enable student and young graduate entrepreneurs, with the Pépite of Central Paris, to take on the basic knowledge to create and manage a business by developing their own business venture. Delivered by teachers at the community’s institutions and contributors from the world of business, lessons will be strictly practical: how to conduct my market research, how to develop my business plan, etc. If necessary, the students will also be able to take part in additional training courses (for example, for selling) and will have access to a legal aid and/or bookkeeper to help realize their venture. Finally, each student will be supported by two tutors, one teacher and one practitioner (an entrepreneur, an expert in supporting entrepreneurs, a former student entrepreneur, etc.). 


‘This course was designed with student entrepreneurs with the Pépite Paris Central in mind’, emphasized Aurélie Mandon, director of the entrepreneurship and professional integration project at Sorbonne University. ‘That is, for scientists or humanities experts, whose business ventures are often very unique, but who usually do not know about the world of entrepreneurship and need tailored support. To implement this, we were inspired by what the universities most active in the field of entrepreneurship had to offer, this means those in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries where learning by doing is highly developed’.


An asset for being an entrepreneur...or getting yourself hired

Once you have graduated, the Pépite of Central Paris will direct those students, whose ventures need it, to a business incubator which is partnered with the center. Here, they will be able to make the most of the services available to support them with the first stages of their business: premises, advice, support to find funding, etc. Thanks to this overall plan to support students, every student should have the best opportunity to realize their idea. Even if some do not continue with their entrepreneurial aims, the D2E will have enabled them to acquire valuable skills to create and manage ventures, find funding, manage teams and, therefore, facilitate their professional integration into a company or research laboratory.


Entrepreneurship at Sorbonne University in 2014-2015

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