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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tomas Fellbom

Founder & President, YUMP France
What are YUMP’s main activities?
We noticed that people were only fussing about problems in deprived neighborhoods. No one was talking about their potential, even though you are very likely to be willing to start up your own business when your life is difficult and you can’t find a job. The network invented by YUMP aims to create “academies” to detect business creation projects in poor neighborhoods. Projects are carefully selected and young entrepreneurs are trained, helped and supported all through the creation process and the launching of their company (i.e. nearly five years). Despite this social dimension, it is not assistance. YUMP is a firm and therefore has a business approach: we take shares in the newly created companies and the young entrepreneurs are partners from the very beginning.
Can you describe your recent developments?
We set up business in France a couple of months ago. The talent detection for the first academy will be starting in March/April in Seine-Saint-Denis, and we will launch the academy in September. We now have several projects to establish structures everywhere in France (including Lille and Strasbourg). Our goal over five years is to set up 15 academies which will support the creation of nearly 500 new companies. We aim to create 10 to 20 jobs per company and €2 million in operating revenues after five years of activity.
 
Why did you choose France? 
I have been living in France for several years and it seemed natural to me to bring YUMP’s Swedish-born concept to France. Since I've been living in Paris, I've had the chance to notice that French “ghettos” have a lot of talent and potential to exploit.
 
How did the Invest in France Agency help you?
The Invest in France Agency (IFA) provided us with lots of help for networking. Since I have already created companies before, I do realize that the biggest difficulty is knowing the market, the potential partners, and more generally who you need to talk to if you want your projects to work out. By connecting us with their local partners, whether they are firms or political authorities, the IFA saved us precious time. Now, whenever I consider a new project, the first thing I do is contact the IFA!
 
What advice would you give to a company interested in investing in France?
My main advice would be: forget your prejudices! The main problem for Swedish entrepreneurs in France is the prejudices they have. Starting up a business is always hard, whatever the country; but in France, if you get over the clichés, you can work efficiently with skillful partners. You can access a large, dynamic market, and many government incentives. You just have to know who to work with, and for this, the IFA is very useful.
 
 
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