The New Idea
To break the isolation of entrepreneurs in France, especially those in economically and socially vulnerable groups, Danielle strives to make it possible for all start-up businesses to succeed and last. With peer entrepreneurs, she invented the profession of Entrepreneurship Advisors (EAs) and opened her first Management Shop in Paris in 1979, which she has replicated in over 400 locations across the country. Through this network, Danielle is refining tools and activities for would-be and start-up entrepreneurs to create and strengthen their businesses and overcome obstacles. She has demonstrated that the right level of support allows entrepreneurs to find more seed funding (i.e. 53 percent of Management Shop clients have access to debt financing versus a national average of 29 percent) and succeed over the long-term (i.e. a 70 percent survival rate after five years versus a national average of 50 percent). Danielle’s model has proven so successful that it has convinced the government to subsidize entrepreneurship support services, which will enable Management Shops to serve over 15,000 business creations every year. Danielle also successfully lobbied for the creation of OSEO, a public collateral-free funding scheme for start-up entrepreneurs. Many social and business entrepreneurs have been inspired by Danielle’s work and have replicated her idea. Together these networks support nearly 30,000 businesses a year. In addition to professionally supporting entrepreneurs, Danielle is successfully eliminating the stigma around the profession of the entrepreneur. Her public outreach campaigns, conducted hand-in-hand with local and national governments and entrepreneurship support organizations, tell the stories of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs to demonstrate that entrepreneurship is a profession within their reach. The campaigns encourage all citizens to question their identities as entrepreneurs: The presence of Management Shop advisors in public venues such as city halls, museums, or even buses in the heart of low-income neighborhoods enables the public to step into the shoes of an entrepreneur and imagine their own entrepreneurial project. Indeed, Danielle sees these steps as crucial strides in the construction of one’s personal project, whether it results in business creation or not. Management Shops conduct activities with nearly 100,000 people every year, of which 15 percent create a company, and another 60 percent find or change jobs, begin training programs, or change their personal project. A further key aspect of Danielle’s work is her effort to engrain a culture of entrepreneurship into French society, starting with the younger generation. She has planted the seeds of entrepreneurship in school curricula and entrepreneurship education programs which reach 30,000 young people a year. Danielle’s innovative activities and games have proven to leave a lasting impression in the minds of young people, and the desire to be an entrepreneur has dramatically grown over the past few years: In 2008, 29 percent of French people, particularly youth, declared the desire to create a business (versus 19 percent in 2001), a number that reaches 69 percent among the 18 to 24 age group (versus 39 percent in 2001) (Ifop, February 2008).