French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled an aggressive agenda back in 2017 to turn France into a “Start-up Nation”. Now, thanks to France re-joining the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the country will be able to leverage data and benchmarking information to measure progress around the agenda’s goals.
“France has taken significant strides in its quest to become a start-up nation,” said Frank Lasch, Full Professor of Entrepreneurship at Montpellier Business School and Co-leader of the GEM France Team. “I am not sure this reality aligns to global perceptions. Now as a part of GEM, we can address these perceptions in a grounded and factual way by showing robust data.”
The lead GEM partner institution is LabEx Entreprendre (Entrepreneurship), University of Montpellier, a collaborative project which brings together 200 researchers working within six research teams to focus on entrepreneurship and innovation while also linking to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was formed in 2011 in response to a call from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research for a project as part of the Investments for the Future Program, established by the French state to finance innovative and promising research initiatives in France. The two principal higher education institutions involved in LabEx Entreprendre are the University of Montpellier and the Montpellier Business School.
“Our mission aligns with the goal of GEM to disseminate knowledge and research about entrepreneurship. It is a perfect match for what we can contribute as entrepreneurship scholars,” said Karim Messeghem, Full Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the University of Montpellier, Founder of the Montpellier Management Institute and the LabEx Entreprendre, and Co-leader of the GEM France Team.
Messeghem believes there has been an entrepreneurship transformation in France over the last decade. Interestingly, in 2019, there were over 900,000 new ventures formed in France and students are increasingly pursuing entrepreneurship as a career choice.
As part of the prestigious GEM consortium of some 50 national teams, the new GEM France team will be able to research important aspects of entrepreneurship in France that previously have not been investigated, such as the perceptions, attitudes and intentions of entrepreneurs, the impact of COVID-19 on entrepreneurship and the conduciveness of the national context for the promotion of entrepreneurship.
“GEM has developed real expertise related to behaviours of entrepreneurs,” said Frank Lasch. “In France, we know when entrepreneurship takes place, but now we can begin to better understand the motivations and drivers of entrepreneurship. This can really benefit us.”
France has been a consistent and active participant in GEM research, last participating in 2018.
“We fill an important gap for GEM by providing essential research about entrepreneurship in France, as the second largest economy in Europe,” said Lasch, who is also director of the Chair Entrepreneurship & Innovation within LabEx Entreprendre. “It is important that France is included in the GEM Global Report as it plays a large part in reflecting the European economic reality. While we have strong visibility nationally, GEM can help us raise our profile at the global level which can in turn bring us many benefits.”
In addition to LabEx Entrepreneurship, additional GEM France partner institutions are Montpellier Business School and the Montpellier Management institute (part of the University of Montpellier). Joining Lasch and Messeghem on the GEM France team are Jean-Marie Courrent, Full Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management at the University of Montpellier and current Director of LabEx Entreprendre; Walid Nakara, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Head of the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Department at Montpellier Business School; Sylvie Sammut, Full Professor in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at the University of Montpellier and Academic Director of Montpellier Management; Roy Thurik; Full Professor of Entrepreneurship and Economics at the Montpellier Business School; and Olivier Torrès, Full Professor of Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Montpellier and Montpellier Business School.
"In response to the pandemic, governments will increasingly need robust and credible data to make key decisions that stimulate sustainable forms of entrepreneurship,” said GEM Executive Director Aileen Ionescu-Somers. “During our 22 years of existence, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor has consistently and robustly contributed to such efforts. We are very confident that the new GEM France team will conduct important research that enables policymakers to make better-informed decisions and supports the French ‘Start-up Nation’ agenda goals.”