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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
Chapter 24: French Perspectives of International Entrepreneurship
24 French perspectives of international entrepreneurship Alain Fayolle In France, conﬂicting information is circulating concerning student and graduate business start-ups.* The specialist press regularly publishes articles detailing the entrepreneurial character of the younger generations. The ‘new French entrepreneurs’ seem to be getting younger and younger and ‘no longer wait to leave school to launch their entrepreneurial projects’.1 Communication technologies and the Internet appear to attract them and to catalyse the entrepreneurial process. Each day sees students and young graduates starting out on their international business ventures. Some cases of start-ups by students from the French ‘Grandes Ecoles’ are analysed in the press and experts are beginning to talk about an important change in mentalities and behaviour. A study made of 900 business and engineering school ﬁnal year students (KORELAT, 1999), suggested that as many as 45% of those concerned were strongly attracted, in the short term, by the idea of setting up their own business, mainly in an international context. However, although some enterprising students have received media coverage, this new interest in start-ups shown by ‘Grandes Ecoles’ and university students, does not, for the moment, mean the entrepreneurial revolution has begun in France. Firstly, it must be remembered that, over the past ﬁve years, the number of ex nihilo company start-ups per year in France has steadily decreased, from 183764 in 1994 to 166190 in 1998 (APCE, 1998). As this concerns primarily students and young graduates, it presents no reason to rejoice. In a recent survey of 1000...
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