One of the most enticing aspects of entrepreneurship is being your own boss. But being the one at the top doesn’t mean that you need to face the challenges of creating a startup on your own. Developing a strong network keeps novice entrepreneurs focused, motivated and accountable—and can provide everything from positive feedback to deep insights about how to grow your business.
That’s where the HEC Paris EPV Circle (EPV= Entrepreneurship, Philosophy & Value) comes in. Founded in March 2021 by HEC Paris MBA students Maxime Arnulf, MBA ’21 and Armin Rachwalik, MBA ’22, the circle provides a close-knit community that supports up to 35 aspiring—and highly committed—HEC Paris entrepreneurs for a period of six months.
“I came to HEC Paris to make the most out of the university’s strong startup ecosystem,” Maxime explains. “I had heard of programs such as X-Entrepreneurs and the HEC Launchpad, but after a few months, I realized that I had never met any students from those programs. That’s when Armin and I decided to create a platform to unite HEC’s most committed entrepreneurs.”
Armin adds, “After we launched, we were overwhelmed by the number of people reaching out to us. We realized that the Circle can be both an informal platform for exchange and also provide strong support to current HEC entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.”
We recently caught up with the two co-founders to learn more.
Who can join?
Any current HEC Paris student who is already working on a startup project or planning to start one in the very near future can apply. The best 35 applicants in each application period are selected based on their background, ideas and, most of all, their motivation and entrepreneurial objectives.
Why only 35 participants?
Keeping it small guarantees a strong link between participants. It also is a number that leverages our current resources without overburdening them.
How does the EPV Circle support HEC Paris’ entrepreneurs?
At the start of the 6-month session, each member’s individual goals are identified. Then we develop workshops to cater to every individual’s needs. Whether it is co-founder meet-ups, pitch-creation workshops, mentorship or funding opportunities, the organizing team does its best to help all members achieve their entrepreneurial objectives.
How are the meetings organized?
We want to create meaningful bonds between members in a safe environment. For that reason, all of our meetings are held face-to-face, though we do have the option of creating hybrid sessions for special occasions or as deemed necessary by the government’s health regulations. As the Circle requires a strong commitment, members who are not able to attend meetings—which happen at least twice per month—will be replaced by students on the waiting list.
Due to these important factors, the EPV Circle membership is limited to current HEC students. However, alumni are highly encouraged to contact the Circle to take on roles as advisors or mentors.
The Circle’s goal is to enrich and complement HEC Paris’ already strong startup ecosystem. It provides a platform designed to help founders during the most difficult time: starting.
It is the only program on campus to combine the following value propositions:
- Our core value is our community. Our unique format includes informal networking at the end of each session to encourage the creation of long-term bonds. We want every cohort to exit the program not only as business partners or co-founders, but also as friends.
- We are an intra-program initiative. Whether you are a Masters, MBA, EMBA or post-prepa GE student, you can apply to join the Circle as a student or mentor. We promote collaboration between all student entrepreneurs so that everyone can benefit from the school’s powerful network.
- We accept students at the inception phase of their business idea or even participants without a business idea who want to join a startup team. The most important factor is time dedication and being ready to start working on a project.
In contrast to other student-led entrepreneurship clubs that host speaker sessions and workshops for anyone interested, the Circle is an application-only program for current or soon-to-be founders.
Do you plan to follow a particular format (speakers, group discussions, regularly scheduled meetings, etc?)
Our bi-weekly meetings include an official “working session” followed by an informal session where participants can network and exchange freely.
- Workshops featuring external experts who address issues such as funding, pitching, business plan design, and venture creation.
- Co-founder matching with students from other nearby universities that complement the skillset from HEC business students, such as Ecole 42 or Polytechnique.
- Mentor group sessions for idea feedback and timeline building.
- Informal sessions to share personal stories, pitches, and entrepreneurial goals to create bonds between the participants.
Share with us the pitch that will convince everyone to join.
Are you an aspiring founder? Do you want to kick-start your project but don’t know where to start? Are you working on a startup project but you need a co-founder, traction or mentorship? Or are you just eager to join a startup team and start working on a project now?
Then the Circle is for you.
Apply today and take you take your project to the next level!
APPLY NOW at www.hecepvcircle.com/applynow