Team Australiance: When did you start thinking about starting your entrepreneurial journey?
Thibault: I dont know exactly when, but since I graduated from High School, I’ve always been interested by the idea of founding my own company. EMLYON Business School – whose tagline is “Educating Entrepreneurs for the World” – most certainly contributed my desire to be an entrepreneur. Actually, I created my first company during my first internship when I was a student at EMLYON. I was initially supposed to create a Commercial Department for a booming solar panel company when my partners came up with the idea of founding an independent company. This is what I did. In the meantime I finished my studies, did an internship at Procter & Gamble so as to learn the different practices of a large-scale company and eventually worked full-time for my company. Our journey lasted 5 years and the company still exists.
I believe that this experience has been a key event which drove some of my choices during these past few years. Without this event, perhaps would I have chosen a more “traditionnal” way in an existing company.
T.A: In your opinion, what are the 3 main qualities an entrepreneur must have?
Thibault: It’s a tricky question. But based on my personal experience I would say:
– Tenacity: entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster, where there are up and downs, and you must keep faith in what you do even when everyone around loses hope. You must also reevalute your project regularly.
– Versatility: as an entrepreneur you must be able to be comfortable with any role, especially when you start your business, be able to learn and get experience quickly in unknown fields.
– Sociability: alone, you won’t make it. Your network is your strength. Being able to meet new people and to talk to a great audience will sooner or later pay off and launch your project in a surprising way. Leo, for example, is a totally random, yet fortunate, encounter. I met him through EMLYON and, with Australiance, he has been a great support as he came up with new ideas, tips and his wide network.
T.A : Why did you choose to develop Chef Up! in Australia?
Thibault: For personal and economic reasons. I arrived in Australia 10 years ago with a Working Holiday Visa and I immediately loved the Australian lifestyle. I resolved to come back and, in the end, my brother and my friends settled first. With Mathieu and Xavier, my associates who were already Down Under, we wanted to follow them.
I also wanted to work and share our culture abroad. Australia is eager for European culture so it was perfect.
Obviously we had to make sure that our project would be economically viable in Australia: that was the last hinder we had to deal with. Hopefully the Australian economic situation was promising (growth, GDP per inhabitant, HDI…).