“Determination, commitment and resilience are, in my opinion, the keys to an entrepreneur’s success.”

What motivates someone to found his own business while having a successful and steady career? Fabien Vancoille has worked in leading positions for companies like Nike, Disney and O'Neill . But instead of continueing his career there, he decided to start his own business. The motivation behind it is actually very human, a desire that can be found in almost each one of us: To pass on his knowledge to someone else. In his case, start-ups needing help in developing their commercial activity. His skills and knowledge collected in more than 20 years of working defined the base for his own company which needed exactly his range of experience, proving once more why there's a big need for Entrepreneurs 40+. Meet Fabien Vancoille.

Introduction

Your Job / Company Name:

Sales Director Outsourced / Franchise at BRAS DROIT DES DIRIGEANTS Sales Management

Your Field of Profession:

Operational support for VSE/SME/Start UP managers wishing to structure and/or develop their commercial activity.

BRAS DROIT DES DIRIGEANTS in 2 or 3 sentences :

The Managers of VSEs, SMEs & Start-Up tend to have a technical background and thus, focus primarily on production. They have little time and have neither the skills to manage their business development nor the drive to manage their salespeople. My time-sharing intervention then consists in helping these companies to structure themselves, to define their commercial strategy and the associated action plan, to improve their commercial discourse, and to manage their sales team.

Careerwise, what have you been doing before you got self-employed?

I have had the chance to evolve within major American and French groups: 10 years at Nike, 4 years at Disney, 5 years at O'Neill and 3 years at Hungaria (Royer Group). After having started commercially in the field, I was able to progress and hold various positions such as Product Manager, Key Account Manager, Sales Director, Marketing and Sales Director, Country Manager, Brand Director.

That's been an impressive career that could probably have continued similarly. What was your motivation to found your own business instead?

I had already intended to create my own company about 5 years ago, without defining at the time the activity that would suit me. When I became an entrepreneur, I felt like I had regained my freedom. Moreover, working with several companies from different fields of activity to whom I can pass on my commercial and managerial knowledge is a real motivation.

With your experience as an Entrepreneur: How do you actually move from an idea to execution?

Every idea must be the object of a thorough analysis ... which must lead to a structured plan. Once the feasibility has been assessed, the actions defined and the schedule determined ... all that remains is to work, work, work!

How does your daily life differ being an entrepreneur?

One of the advantages and one of the satisfactions of my activity is that I never experience two identical days. Indeed, I split my working time between business assignments in the companies of clients (time sharing because I work an average of 1 day per week in each company), prospecting (search for future assignments) and prescription (business clubs, various events, ...), social network management, and so on.

What’s the biggest reward(s) of having your own business?

To be able to manage my agenda alone and according to my own preferences ... and to have the luxury to choose the companies I want to work with !

What, in your opinion, makes a successful entrepreneur?

Determination, commitment and resilience are, in my opinion, the keys to an entrepreneur's success.

How do you think is it different to start an entrepreneurship 40+ than in your twenties? *

Of course, I have learned a lot throughout my professional career, which has been rich in experiences, projects and encounters. This career path is an invaluable foundation and an undeniable asset on which I can rely today - and which I did not have when I was young!

For a lot of people, the fear of failure is the reason not to start their own business. What would you say to someone to convince them to go through with it anyway? Which impact did fear have on you?

To me, it seems to be a normal reaction to be afraid to take the first step. Nevertheless, it is precisely this fear that should allow you to reflect well on your project and thus to structure it well. Personally, this fear stimulates me and pushes me to be even better and better prepared.

On becoming a Product Design Entrepreneur in your 40s – Meet David Mateo

We asked David Mateo, Product Designer and Stylist at David Mateo Design how he made the switch from employed to self-employed. While we mostly thought about getting an insight into his daily life as entrepreneur, this interview turned out to be an inspirational guide for aspiring Design Entrepreneurs. So:

This interview is for (Product) Designers who think about starting their own brand. It's an insight into the advantages of designing for more than one brand, it's a motivational piece on becoming self-employed when you have gained enough experience. It's also a chance to get to know more about the creative man David Mateo.

Introduction

Your Job / Company Name:

Product Designer & Stylist at SARL DAVID MATEO DESIGN

Your Field of Profession:

Product Design for bags, shoes and eyewear.

Your Company (Idea) in 2-3 Sentences:

To be recognised as an expert in bags, shoes and accessories design and development. A long experience and a lot of projects in the same domain makes the difference. To make the smartest design and the most beautiful product. To understand the DNA of each brand and bring the appropriate design, at the right moment. To push the creativity out of the boundaries to innovate. To work as a team with the customers on all steps of the project!

Careerwise, what have you been doing before you got self-employed?

I started in the car industry as I love cars and transport design. As a surfer, I moved to the surf industry in 2001 to design bags, accessories, footwear and eyewear for 6 years at Ripcurl, 2 years at O'Neill and 5 years at Oxbow. These jobs left me with a lot of experience!

Before you started David Mateo Design SARL, you’ve been working as an employed Product Designer for more than 20 years. How did you move from employee to Entrepreneur?

I worked as a Product Designer for 17 years before I started my own business. Indeed, I didn't go from employee to entrepreneur straight away because I wanted to check if it was doable. I did one super freelance project in the same time: MUB was born. And then, Pataugas, a famous french shoe brand, were seeking for a freelance designer to create a bag collection. I made it! I was employed at Oxbow at the same time and I went to the far east to visit luxury bag factories during my holiday! Then, another project came and I left Oxbow.

When I had enough experience and an extended network to start, I started my own business. I wanted to work on different domains with different people.

How would you say did the freelance projects prepare for starting your own business?

I would always recommend to proceed so. It permits to test if it's works, if you can make enough money, get several customers while having the security of employment. 
But I would not recommend to do both for a long time; I remember I worked day and night at this time.


Sketch from David Mateo showing the shoe design process for Pataugas
PATAUGAS SHOE DESIGN PROCESS
© David Mateo

What advantages and disadvantages does entrepreneurship have for you in comparison to being employed?

The main advantage is the freedom to balance private and professional life the way we want. I can go surfing in the morning and work after diner instead. I have time to pick up my kids at school. The other advantage is the opportunity to work on different domains, projects and people, making my work quite varied.

The main disadvantage is the fact you never really know in advance how much turn over you can make at the end of the year. The advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages though :-)

Would you say it's advantageous becoming an entrepreneur 40+ than in your twenties?

For me, in my domain, in product design, it's crucial to gain experience first by being employed in different companies for a couple of years before you can start your own brand. Only through this you'll be able to learn from others and create a relevant network.

For many, the fear of failure is the reason not to start their own business. What would you say to someone to convince them to go through with it anyway?

The fear of failure is normal but I would say it's better to regret things we've done than things we haven't. Every success comes with a risk. It's worth the try!


Ashoka Paris X Pamela Anderson
© David Mateo

What’s the biggest reward(s) of having your own business?

To work on super cool projects! As the designer of Ashoka Paris, I recently created a handbag collection for Pamela Anderson in collaboration with Ashoka. I worked with her for 16 months and it was an awesome experience!


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The Power of Identity and Purpose at The North Face – an Interview with their Brand Experience Manager Marco Mombelli

The North Face is the largest outdoor brand in the world, not only in regards to their gear and products, but especially in terms of a strong identity. They are not plainly selling products, but have managed to create a voice that communicates their values of Authenticity, Empowerment, Perseverance and Environmental Responsibility. The North Face has been creating a brand experience which is involving their customers directly and invites them to live their slogan "Never stop exploring" instead of just reading or hearing about it.

One of the people making this possible is Marco Mombelli who is the Brand Experience Manager of The North Face. In his role, he develops and manages the brand experience strategy, especially by optimising their physical touchpoints to create a community and enable them to go outdoors. Furthermore, Marco is a great interlocutor and thus, has been up to an extended interview about his role and the very big topics of brand experience and brand purpose.

In this interview, we got insights into:

  • how The North Face's brand experience inspires, connects and enables their customers to explore and protect the Outdoors
  • why every lifestyle & outdoor brand essentially has to develop a strong identity and voice
  • how purpose affects VF Corporation and its brand The North Face and why to strive for doing good and doing well

As we talked to Marco back in the beginning of May 2020, we also took the opportunity to address the Covid-19 crisis and how The North Face managed to still enable people to explore in times of a lockdown.

When looking at your career, you’ve been working in the sports business since 2002 for different brands before you became part of The North Face in 2015. What has drawn you to work at TNF?

MM: I actually started working at VF in 2008 and recently celebrated my 12th anniversary which is amazing. How did I end up working at The North Face? Wow, where do I start? I mean, everything in my life has led me to my current role. My family used to run a small business selling building materials, and after studying accounting in high school I felt it was my destiny to do something entrepreneurial.  But I realized I had more to learn so, I decided to continue my education and  go to university, where I studied Communication and Public Relations. 

I started working in 2002 for Red Bull as a Student Brand Manager and after a year I was promoted to Assistant Brand Manager. At the time, I was still studying and I was in a punk rock band that was becoming popular - we had a video on TV and a second album due, which obviously took up a lot of my energy! I knew I was taking on too much, but I knew if I quit school, my parents would kill me! So, it was a decision between Brand Management and Rock’n’Roll.  I decided Brand Management could wait – and I chose school and rock’n’roll

And then?

MM: I kept studying and kept working hard with the band.  Being part of a band was a great experience, but I soon realized that Rockstardom wasn’t for me, so I got back on track.  I found a great job at Connexia, one of the biggest PR companies in Milan. After a few years there I was contacted by the Country Manager of Vans Italy and I started to work for Vans in 2008. I was the Marketing Manager in charge of pretty much everything - from athletes to PR to events. 

I was based in Milan for the role and although I loved the city experience I missed the mountains, the lake and my family. 

I was eager to move to the VF EMEA HQ in Stabio, Switzerland  which was closer to the mountains and closer to my hometown. Unfortunately, there were no positions at Vans, but there was a good opportunity at the Reef brand instead. At the time, my manager said, “It’s a small brand, but it could be a good platform for you to have a more European role”. Not a big team to manage, but I was in charge of the whole brand at the European level, which again was a great learning experience for me. After some time with Reef I realised I wanted to join a bigger brand, with more structure and when an opportunity to join The North Face came along I took it. 

The role was maternity cover, stepping in as Wholesale Marketing Manager in charge of Spain, Italy, the Nordics and the Netherlands. It felt very natural. Even though my previous experience was with action sports brands, I have a real love for the mountains and have snowboarded since 1991. I felt an immediate connection to the TNF culture and people and I knew it was the right step.

And how did you end up becoming The North Face’s Brand Experience Manager?

MM: Once the maternity cover position ended, I swapped roles again, moving to the Retail Team and working on retail transformation - shaping the way for stores to move from shopping spaces to brand experience platforms and finding new ways to interact with and to engage consumers.

Your responsibility is optimizing the brand’s physical touchpoints. How do you actually  improve the experience at a retail level?

MM: I was challenged to create the first TNF Community Program in 2016. We created the first one in London, using our physical stores as a Hub for the Community to meet up before going outside to explore, to meet for workshops and to listen to talks from our athletes. 

We now have 9 Communities across Europe and we engage with more than 20,000 Community Members on a yearly basis. The Community Groups take up most of my focus and I’m very proud of this. You really get the chance to have a positive impact on people’s lives. On a weekly basis, we offer sessions with personal trainers specializing in outdoor activities who lead either outdoor workouts or activities such as indoor climbing.   After London, we developed Communities in Munich, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Stockholm, Chamonix, Manchester, Bolzano – focusing on key cities and awesome outdoor destinations.

The North Face Shop in Soho, New York: An area to get inspired and hang out in the community
Photo Credit: The North Face/Sasha Turrentine

So, you’re saying that a shop is not a shop, but a place for a community to meet. Where they can exchange their minds, their opinion, just watch a movie together, connect.

MM: Yes! I could tell you a thousand stories of people making new friends through our Community Program!  In our Community Groups, you are sure to find likeminded people with whom you share the same passion for the Outdoors.

In the end, we are successful because of the passion of our Community Managers and Community Members. If you talk to someone who is a snowboard enthusiast, a skateboarder or an Outdoor person in general, they love (and will talk forever) about their passion, whether its hiking, climbing, skateboarding or snowboarding. This passion is behind every product we sell. Behind every jacket and backpack and shoe. It’s a culture, you know. It’s something that brings people together.

In you could put it as simply as possible, what does the term ‘brand experience’ mean?

MM: Our team of Community Managers and I take our inspiring campaigns and stories and bring them to life by providing a platform for people to participate. Without this approach, our consumers would be spectators, looking at pages in a magazine or films online. We want to enable people to actually experience our brand stories, The North Face brand, and in turn become a part of it.  I believe this is truly important. 


My generation were educated to be spectators. You watch a movie, and the actor is the star, right? The young people of today are different – they want to be the protagonist - the hero of their own story. They don’t want to only be inspired. They want to be enabled. I like that!

Marco Mombelli, Brand Experience Manager @ The North Face

And how does this affect the role of the customer and the brand?

MM: Brand experience is about enabling. In the early 2000s and in the late 90s, brands focused on inspiring consumers. You showed them an advert, they got excited and eventually they went and bought something. My generation, I’m from 77, were educated to be spectators. You watch a movie, and the actor is the star, right? The young people of today are different – they want to be the protagonist - the hero of their own story. They don’t want to only be inspired. They want to be enabled. I like that!

So how can we do that? How can I do that? I think the role of a brand is becoming more and more about enabling people to experience something. Especially, with an audience like today’s generation that have such a wide choice of options. 

How are you solving experiential marketing during the current COVID-19 crisis?

MM: Of course, in this moment, being in charge of events is not ideal in any industry! But we’re focusing on how we can make training accessible for as many people as possible, as responsibly and safely as possible. 

You have to be flexible and agile in these situations, so we moved our physical touchpoints to a digital channel where people who were locked down could have an opportunity to work out with our trainers. We are using our athletes, influencers and members to help keep our community engaged and inspired. Because as you know, in this situation, staying fit and staying connected is very beneficial. We are using technology to motivate them to be prepared for their next adventure, as soon as we can all start exploring again.

In your opinion, how does Covid-19 affect the outdoor industry in general? 

MM: Right now in Italy, we are in phase two*, where people are allowed to do sports outside the home. So I think for us, for the outdoor industry, it presents a good opportunity. Pre-Covid-19, a lot of people used to go to the gym for fitness.  Now, in my opinion, the trails are the preferable place to train, to re-energize, to experience nature, and all the while maintaining social distance. 

At the moment, we want to support people, driven by our purpose of powering movements and active lifestyles. So how can we enable people to escape the city by themselves? We have the platform and the knowledge. My goal is really to use the network that we have to inspire and enable people to leave the city. 

*Note from Editor: The interview was held at the beginning of May when Italy had just entered phase 2 of the corona lockdown restrictions.

The North Face is also communicating „We will weather this storm together“ through your online channels right now. What’s behind this?

MM: This is part of our Explore Fund campaign. We’ve launched a ‘first of its kind’ fund, with 1million euros available to charities and organisations in the UK, Germany, Italy and France to ensure they are able to support exploration when it’s possible again. 

Do you think that the desire to explore and to go outside does help to create an environmental consciousness in society?

MM: Yes. I see that, in general, the current generation is more environmentally conscious, compared with past generations. The younger generation values sustainability. They value having the least negative impact on the planet as possible. 

What is important to highlight here is that although I believe everyone has the desire to explore, not everyone has easy access or exposure to the Outdoors – especially people living in big cities.   I think it’s important that we make the effort to show people what the Outdoors has to offer and to enjoy the Outdoors responsibly.   

For example, what we do quite successfully in our community in Stockholm, is plogging. It’s a combination of jogging and picking up trash.  Maja Tesch, who is one of our Community Managers there, is a leader in the plogging movement in Sweden. I see this as an important trend. It’s an activity that matches physical performance and doing your part. 

The result is impressive after one day of plogging / trail running with garbage collecting by The North Face Trail Academy

If we talk about sustainability, we should also take a look at purpose since brand management strategies in the 21st century often revolve around those two topics. What does brand purpose actually imply?

MM: That’s a very good question. One of the things that excites me the most about purpose is the chance of doing good and doing well - at VF we call it the power of „AND“. As a Purpose Led company, our focus is running a healthy business with a return for its investors, and at the same time, working for the betterment of people and planet, having a positive impact on our society. With a company on the scale of VF, with thousands of employees and touch points all around the globe, we can really enable people to do better. 

Nowadays, being a brand is more than a logo on a T-Shirt. Being a brand is a representation of a culture with rituals and with values. It is about having a strong identity. When you walk around with a The North Face T-Shirt, you are communicating what kind of person you are. If you take a look at VF’s brands, at Vans, The North Face, Timberland, you’ll immediately understand the lifestyle associated with them.

I don’t want to imply that brand management is becoming more and more important to guide society. But for sure, it’s one important factor. Brands have quite some influence, but also a lot of responsibility. We better find the right spot in between doing good and doing well.

How do you define The North Face’s brand purpose?

MM: Our brand ID is: „We dare to lead the world forward through exploration“. So, when you see our logo, you will immediately think of exploration. It’s not limited to physical and outdoor activities, but actually includes a state of mind. 

For me, exploration is the sum of curiosity and courage. Curious people daring to ask „Hey, what’s next?“. Explorers strike out in new directions, with curiosity, but also courage, pushing them further. Exploration has always been essential for human progress.

So, to simplify you could say that The North Face’s purpose is to completely embody exploration. We want to improve the world around us and find new ways to do so. But again, you need curiosity and courage to get to know what’s behind what we know already. It means embracing the culture of failure. How many times do you need to fail before you succeed? 


Take a look at the relevance of sustainability. Today, brands need to be sustainable or else you’re out of the market. Being purpose-led is probably the next determining factor. You need to have a voice, an identity. You need to generate disruptive change. I think the consumer is asking for that from a brand.

Marco Mombelli, BRand Experience Manager @ The North Face

Why do you think purpose is becoming such a big topic today among so many brands? 

MM: Take a look at the relevance of sustainability. Today, brands need to be sustainable or else you’re out of the market. Being purpose-led is probably the next determining factor. You need to have a voice, an identity. You need to generate disruptive change. I think the consumer is asking for that from a brand.

What role do you feel brand experience and purpose play in the internal culture of the North Face? 

MM: We have five internal guiding principles.  I have listed them below and explained what they mean to me personally and in my role.   The guiding principles are not part of a marketing campaign, but rather part of our brand purpose.  Whether you work in Finance, in Customer Service, in Sales, the principles are same for everyone. 

The internal guiding principles of The North Face:

  1. Love wild places.  Of course, we have to explore and protect our playground. If there’s no outdoor, there’s no outdoor industry. 
  2. Spark curiosity. It’s important to be curious. It’s an attitude, a state of mind, which is instrumental for exploration.
  3. Dare to disrupt. The North Face has always been bold. You can’t be a brand that pleases everyone. If you want to be authentic and true to yourself, you sometimes need to be disruptive. People sometimes need to be shocked about what you do.
  4. Create Community. And this is particularly meaningful for me. The power of being together.  In this time of social media, especially in big cities, people don’t talk to each other as much anymore – especially new people.  Instead we spy on each other through a screen. Through the TNF Communities, we have the chance to connect likeminded people on a regular basis, to actually spend time with them and to make new friends, to go outside, socialize and just connect. That’s something strong. That’s what I am really proud of. It actually gives me goose bumps to talk about it.
  5. Integrity. Very important. It’s self explanatory. 

Should employees or candidates thinking about applying at The North Face have an affinity for outdoor sports, for purpose, sustainability?

MM: To be honest, I think that if you work for a lifestyle or outdoor brand you should have passion for what the brand does and represents. In my opinion, only then, will you be able to fully contribute. If you’re not passionate about the outdoors, action sports, or whatever each brand embodies or represents, it’s not going to work. Either way it is a cool job, you work for VF, it’s a great company, it treats you well. But if it’s just a job for you, you can work for any other company, for example a bank. I mean, maybe you have a passion for banking and that’s the way to go. But if you want to work for the leading outdoor brand, you need to have passion for the Outdoors.


The North Face® is part of VF Corporation one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies connecting people to the lifestyles, activities and experiences they cherish most through a family of iconic outdoor, active and workwear brands including Vans®, Timberland® Eastpak®, Kipling®  and Dickies®

Our purpose is to power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet. We connect this purpose with a relentless drive to succeed to create value for all stakeholders and use our company as a force for good. For more information, please visit vfc.com.

Entrepreneurship 40+: Alain Marhic from MARCH LA.B

Introduction

Your Job / Company Name:

CEO, Alavie SAS (March LA.b)

Your Field of Profession:

Luxury Goods & Jewelry

Your Company (Idea) in 2-3 Sentences:

Simple elegant affordable watches made in France

Careerwise, what have you been doing before you got self-employed?

I was a business unit manager in the Quiksilver group.

What was your motivation to found your own business?

I could not see my product vision anywhere in the watch business as this kind of product range had not been fulfilled yet, especially not in the way that I was thinking, so I wanted to bring it alive. Also, I was frustrated by the lack of vision and missing reward and recognition with my ex-employer. Having this outlook, I was thinking that my passion and vision should be used for myself instead of someone else who does not care enough at the end of the day.

How did you move from an idea to a business success?

Well, let' say 10 years, minimum. With baby steps including lots of meetings, little successes, big failures, and a huge amount of work and positivity.

What, in your opinion, makes a successful entrepreneur?

Someone who listens a lot and knows his own weaknesses. Someone who moves fast and stays focussed on his primary vision.

How do you think is it different to start an entrepreneurship 40+ than in your twenties?

Well, family and kids increase the pressure to succeed. But 40+ is probably the best moment to start your own business as you combine experience and network. And you are still full of energy to conquer the world! 

For a lot of people, the fear of failure is the reason not to start their own business. What would you say to someone to convince them to go through with it anyway? Which impact did fear have on you?

I never really had any fear to fail. Leaving your comfort zone is the best thing you can do as far as your personal evolution is concerned. You learn so much and stay so much younger in your heart, body and mind at the same time.

Saint Augustine said something similar. It goes somehow like "The fear to loose what you have should not prevent you from becoming who you are."

How is your daily life as an entrepreneur?

Coffee at 7:30 in Paris to talk to people, handle some work before the team arrives at 9:30, and then managing my team and meetings all day long with a lot of shops to stay close to the market.

What’s the biggest reward(s) of having your own business?

That's easy! When people are sending me messages saying how happy and proud they are to wear my watches! After 10 years, it is still a very intense feeling. Those words give meaning to the whole adventure.

Don’t Count on Passion to be Successful in the Sports Industry

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You love sport more than anyone you know. You know the history of your favorite sport inside-out. You are at the every home game of your favorite team. You know the life stories of all the players. 

If you were interested in working for this industry, you would be perfect candidate right? Not necessarily. 

 A love of sport alone is no longer what the industry is looking for. What employer’s want is someone with the skills and the vision to lead the sport industry through disruption, who embraces emerging technologies and understands the growing importance of data. 

The MSc in Sports Industry Management at emlyon business school in France works closely with sport industry leaders to ensure that the program meets their needs and delivers graduates who are ready to hit the ground running from day one. 

So what are the most pertinent issues being discussed today that companies in the sport industry need to address?

Data

The importance of data, its collection and its rigorous analysis has been growing in the sports industry for many years. It first made an appearance in baseball, as popularized in Michael Lewis’s book and later made into feature film “Moneyball”. Data was used in player recruitment but it is now used in all different aspects of sport. From player performance to team work, data helps to analyze physical, mental and social factors that will help players and teams learn how they can perform to their very best and create champions.

Data is also used in marketing to decide on when to schedule games, how to engage fans, how to assess the effectiveness of social media campaigns, how to measure financial performance, and so forth. 

The industry needs individuals who understand data, know how to collect and analyze it, and then translate it into innovative strategy. 

Future Tech

A survey conducted by Scrum Ventures in 2019 showed that according to industry professionals, the technologies that will make the biggest impact on the sports industry over the next 12 months are selected fan engagement technologies (78%), such as live streaming, esports and content platforms, athlete performance (16%) and stadium experience (6%).  From an investment perspective, the top three areas of interest were media and content-related platforms, esports and measurement platforms for data and analytics and biometrics.

 These insights are even more relevant in the context of the global COVID-19 crisis. How will this crisis change the sports industry? How can the industry adapt? Creative and skilled people are needed to use technology to keep the industry moving forward. 

Sustainability

Addressing issues of sustainability in sport is important for two reasons, the need to reduce the industry’s ecological footprint; and the role sport can play in raising environmental awareness.

The sports industry has committed to taking action to moderate the environmental impact that it has but much more can be done. How can the world of sport use its influence and fan base to pass on important messages and inform the public of environmental issues?

Sponsorship and marketing

With the rise of the digital era, sponsorship and marketing have experienced a huge change and continues to change with the importance of social media, particularly when it comes to fan interaction. 

The MSc in Sports Industry Management is an 18-month program split between emlyon business school’scampuses in Paris and Shanghai. It prepares you not only to tackles the issues previously mentioned, but also to be prepared for any further changes in the industry. The program is broken up into 4 skill sets and uses project based learning, company visits and networking sessions to put your classes into perspective:

  1. Explore: Understand a world in constant change
  2. Create: Tools and concepts to build for the future
  3. Make it happen: Integrate innovation in a market strategy
  4. Scale up: Go global

Do you have what it takes to join this fast-moving and exciting industry?

For more information download the brochure

From Athlete to Marketing Director: Meet Hanane Sabri from Kipling

Hanane Sabri, Marketing Director of Kipling, part of VF Corporation, in Hong Kong, has been working in the sports & fashion business for more than 20 years. While this is impressive on its own, it is even more so considering Hanane’s background: Before starting her business career, she used to be a French athlete who participated in national & international competitions. She was crowned as champion of France in the 1,500 meters in 2001 in Saint-Etienne and competed in the 2001 World Championships in Athletics in Edmonton. At the same time of her athlete’s peak, she started her career in the sporting goods industry, making her a great example of mastering a smooth transition from sports to business.

And there’s still more to her story. Hanane has reached the highest level in a sport practiced in shorts as a Muslim woman and today, has achieved a top management position in a men’s dominated industry while being a mother of two. She’s challenged the assumptions about female roles in sports and economy and proved that, indeed, women can have it all.

So, what can we learn from her success about progress, resilience and purpose? Tracing her career as an athlete, marketing professional and mother, Hanane Sabri shares with us an insight into her own history, her values and a lesson on hard work.

SJ: You started your professional career at the same time as your athletic career and continued with both for almost 8 years. How did you manage to bring the two together?

HS: I come from a family of workers, so hard work was a primary aspect of my education. My parents were forced to work in very difficult conditions in the North of France to support our family. So, they gave everything at work, never complaining when they returned home. From an early age, I understood that to be successful you had to work hard and be persistent to achieve your goals. My athletic career has also taught me that. I have not been champion of France in the 1,500 meters by snapping my fingers and no other athlete either, not even the talented Usain Bolt!

It’s simple: to succeed in your professional career you have to work hard, to succeed as a mother you have to work hard, to succeed as an athlete you have to work hard, to succeed in your life in  a relationship, you have to work hard and so on! For everything in life, you always have to give your best and above all be attentive to others, but also to your body, to achieve performance.


"I understood that to be successful you had to work hard and be persistent to achieve your goals. I have not been champion of France in the 1,500 meters by snapping my fingers and no other athlete either, not even the talented Usain Bolt!"

Hanane Sabri

SJ: Are you proud to have started your professional career like this?

HS: Of course! It was an intense period, just like my whole life. In fact, I don’t really know how to stop because I’m a chronic hyperactive [laughs]. In addition, Adidas was a very good school for my early career. I had a CEO, Antoine Sathicq, who was a very inspiring manager and who managed us perfectly. I was able to learn a lot in finance, project management and marketing through my various positions at Adidas.

SJ: You are currently Marketing Director at Kipling. Has your athletic background helped you get here?

HS: Totally! My life as an athlete has allowed me to understand three things: The first is that you have to work hard to achieve your goals.

The second is resilience. The ability to keep moving forward despite obstacles, energy shortages, etc.

The last one is empathy, listening and connecting with others. You never succeed alone.

Even if I have practiced a sport that is described as individual, for me it is still a team effort. I had my physiotherapist, my trainer, my hares, my relatives, etc. It was them who helped me, in part, to reach the world championships in Edmonton. For me, it is important to move forward with a team that we respect and with which we feel connected.

In addition, my parents taught me the values of respect, sharing, empathy and performance. The notion of performance is ingrained in me and that is what brought me to where I am today whether in the sports industry or the fashion industry.

SJ: In 2018, you arrived in Hong-Kong and joined the Folli Follie group. Why did you leave the sports industry to work in jewelry?

HS: Actually, I first came to Hong Kong out of love. I wanted to learn Mandarin and take care of my family. As I could not stop working, I joined the Folli-Follie group and discovered the world of jewelry because I wanted to learn and discover new things on the Asian market. I really liked the learning process. After 3 years, I had learned a lot, but I wanted to take on new challenges. So, I applied to VF Corporation. It was not easy but after some interviews, I was recruited! Today I am very proud to work for this brand which immerses me in the world of lifestyle and millennials.

SJ: What inspires you at Kipling and what are your goals in this business?

HS: When I arrived at Kipling I was in observation mode for 3 months. This is a rule that I have always imposed myself in any new mission because you must first understand the company and the brand for which you work. The collections, the market, the brand’s consumers, employees, the functioning of internal but also local teams, cultural differences, company values, objectives and finally the strategy put in place. Beyond the specific objectives of the company, my priority remains the human being and the relationship with others in order to ensure team cohesion and the establishment of common objectives. I love to grow and see others grow. For me, the manager / employee relationship is a win / win relationship, based on respect, listening and performance.

Why did I choose Kipling? I really got hooked with the new managerial leadership in place and especially their objectives and the new vision of Kipling. Today we want to reach millennials by transmitting the message of exploring the world with curiosity but also of lightening their lives thanks to our inspiring and functional products. I totally find myself in this message. In addition, I like to work on new concept stores to offer a real experience to our consumers, be it in store activations or through merchandising visuals, but above all to communicate with Asians using 80% of the digital world. And this may include the entire strategic approach of online distribution for our own sites kipling.com or on our Kipling Store on Tmall platform [the largest E- commerce platform in China and in the world] without obviously forgetting the importance of social networks such as WeChat, Weibo, FB or Instagram, etc. All these subjects are challenges to be met in a disruptive and specific way to create a real competitive difference.

SJ: After such an inspiring journey, do you have any advice for students and recent graduates?

HS: Do everything to achieve your dreams and never give up! For me, nothing is impossible. I am living proof! I have reached the highest level in a sport that is practiced in shorts while I am a Muslim. I have always worked in men’s professional circles when I am a woman who comes from a working-class family and I have done very well. Again, I emphasize the concept of resilience which is very important throughout our lives without forgetting human values such as respect, empathy and listening.


"Do everything to achieve your dreams and never give up! For me, nothing is impossible. I am living proof ! I have reached the highest level in a sport that is practiced in shorts while I am a Muslim. I have always worked in men's professional circles when I am a woman who comes from a working class family and I have done very well."

Hanane Sabri

One of my daily motivations is to ask myself: which actions can I take today that could have an impact on the world, on my family, on the ecological level, and at work? I am a great player and I always take the example of dominoes, because every little gesture can have a huge impact on our lives and the lives of others. Even a smile, a moment of listening, helping someone in need even if he is a stranger to us, and so on! These little actions can give hope. And we have to share this hope because that is what makes us build a better world in the end.

This also applies to the global scale about ecology: I believe in humanity and if everyone makes small gestures, we can build a society more respectful of our planet Earth and leave a legacy for our children.

More about Hanane Sabri

Hanane Sabri joined VF as Asia Pacific Marketing Director of Kipling in Hong Kong HQ in May 2019. She has more than 20 years of experience in the Fashion and Sport Retail industry.

Based in Strasboug, Hanane joined Adidas France in 2000 as a Finance Controller. During that time, she was also a national athlete representing her country in international competitions. Hanane Sabri became Strategic Planning Director in 2004 and took the role of Senior Sport Marketing and Communication Manager in 2006, specializing in Event activation plans, production planning, finance and market analysis. She oversaw international sports events such as the Olympic Games in Beijing, Athens, Vancouver and London, and was directly in charge of the French Olympic Committee and 18 national Federations for 8 years.

Between 2006 and 2015, the highlights of Hanane Sabri’s achievement involved managing contract negotiations with athletes and celebrities for adidas performance & Original, including the renowned Rap Singer Akhenaton , the two times Olympic Champion Teddy Riner in judo and multiple times gold medallist Nikola Karabatic and olympic champion in handball.

Prior to joining VF Corporation, she worked in Folli Follie in January 2016 as their Asia Pacific Marketing Director, developing leading design teams, product management, marketing and communication for 7 countries and more than 150 stores in Japan and China.

Her financial expertise also plays a key role in her success in managing P&L on multi-million budgets across several product lines of the business. Hanane has a Master’s Degree  in  Corporate, Finance and Securities Law at the EM Master Strasbourg Business School and also a BBA and MBA in Finance at Bowling Green State University in Ohio US. She is currently living in Hong Kong with her husband and two children.

© Portrait of Hanane Sabri by [email protected]

About Kipling

The Kipling success story started in 1987 in the heart of the fashion capital of Antwerp (Belgium) with crinkled nylon bags. By injecting our creativity and out-of-the-box thinking into developing thoughtful designs with a casual coolness, Kipling products are created to inspire mobility and enable you to Live.Light. As more than a bag brand, Kipling represents a positive outlook on life, a light-hearted mentality, free spirit, and inclusivity. Today Kipling’s well-known bags and accessories are available around the world in 436 stores in 80 countries and can be found in more than 7500 shops, and on kipling.com.

Today Kipling is part of VF Corporation. Founded in 1899, VF Corporation is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies connecting people to the lifestyles, activities and experiences they cherish most through a family of iconic outdoor, active and workwear brands including Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland®, Napapijri®, Eastpak® and Dickies®. 


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Entrepreneurship 40+: Meet Anthony Cazottes

Entrepreneur over 40: Anthony Cazottes

Trust in your experience. Make your vision come reality. Be brave to start your business over 40.

Our Entrepreneurship 40+ series introduces you to personalities from the sports industry who followed through with their ideas to start their own business.

In our third interview, we spoke to Anthony Cazottes from Biarritz, owner and founder of the agency French Albion. When he lost his job in 2015, he was shocked at first, but then realised the chance to finally be free to create his own future. A vision he already had for almost 10 years.

Introduction

Your Job / Company Name:

Founder of French Albion, based in Biarritz (France)

Your agency French Albion in 2-3 Sentences:

French Albion is a forward thinking agency focused on introducing Outdoor & Lifestyle brands from overseas to the European market through an innovative hybrid business model.

Careerwise, what have you been doing before you got self-employed?

I started my career in 1998 in the Action Sports industry working for Quiksilver in the UK as a visual merchandiser, then went on to become a sales rep covering menswear in London and looking after a selection of key accounts. In 2002 I came back to the Quiksilver HQ in France to look after the off price business for the Na Pali group. Then in 2004 when Quiksilver bought DC Shoes I was named Sales Manager for France. After 10 years working for the group I sailed off to NIXON in 2008 and directed sales for 4,5 years, this time on a European level. But the biggest opportunity of my career came in 2013 when I was promoted to EMEA General Manager of Electric Europe, a company then part of the Kering group.

Anthony Cazottes Career Path from Quiksilver to French Albion

What was your motivation to start your own business?

I realised over the years that no matter how good you are at your job and how much you represent the brand you work for at the time, you always leave with a hand shake and you never take a piece of the company with you other than memories. In my late 30s I felt a strong need to create something of my own, something I was passionate about and that I would be able develop with my life philosophy in mind, not following someone else’s strategy. In 2015 I lost my job and although it was a bit of a shock to the system it was a relief at the same time, I was free to create, to innovate, to think out of the box… That is what motivated me to create my own business: freedom to think.

How did you move from an idea to business success?

In my case things came naturally, first I was consulting for companies who wanted to come to Europe and through that process I realised there was a need to propose a solution that was different from the classic models of distribution. Once I had the model figured out we managed to attract brands that we chose carefully in the Outdoor & Lifestyle market through my connections in the US & Canada. The first clients are always the hardest to get but once you have a proven track record companies reach out to you for business regularly.

What, in your opinion, makes a successful entrepreneur?

It’s a combination of different things of course but in my opinion motivation, commitment and rationalism are the key ingredients. An entrepreneur also needs to be able to mitigate passion with reality and try not to get too carried away by things he likes doing vs things that need to be done.

How do you think is it different to start an entrepreneurship 40+ than in your twenties?

If you have a brilliant idea in your twenties but you don’t have the experience to bring it to life then you would probably have to rely on other people who can help you make it a reality. Less expertise means the idea needs to be even stronger and innovative to be successful. Starting a business in your 40s is definitely different, you are mainly relying on yourself and the baggage you have cumulated throughout your career. Your contacts, knowledge of the industry and experience are the fuel to your idea.

For a lot of people, the fear of failure is the reason not to start their own business. What would you say to someone to convince them to go through with it anyway?

The risk depends on the business idea and the means to bring that idea to life. If the idea is weak but the means are strong it’s likely that the success will be minimal, if the idea is strong but the means are weak success will come by finding investment which is always easier than finding a good idea. Rather than speak about fear I would prefer to call it doubts, I think all entrepreneurs have doubts, doubts fuel the mind to be better at finding solutions and are therefore good companions to entrepreneurs. Don't be afraid of doubts, if you are convinced about your business idea and you are fully committed then you will be successful. However, my advice would be to ask friends, family and a consortium of industry experts for their opinion before you dive in. Also don’t give up everything you have before you see traction in your new venture. Last but not least, don’t force yourself into an entrepreneurial career out of desperation, becoming an entrepreneur should be a natural path you follow.

How is your daily life as an entrepreneur?

It’s fascinating, the world is your oyster, the opportunities are huge and anything is possible. Of course the reality hangs over your head and acts as a hand brake to funnel your enthusiasm but the balance of the two is what I find the fun part. Being free to decide, working with people I love, no politics, is how my company is run everyday. My daily life as an entrepreneur resembles a lot to my daily life as a person.

What’s the biggest reward of having your own business?

Thinking of an idea, putting it together and launching it successfully is very rewarding in itself but being able to employ people and giving them long term projects is probably what I take most pride in having achieved so far. Also, when brands you look up to contact you through your web page to start a partnership is a great reward.


Interested in meeting other entrepreneurs over 40 from the sports business? We are publishing new interviews regularly in our series Entrepreneurship 40+!

Entrepreneurship 40+: Meet Régis Lauprete

When we read stories of start-ups in the sports industry a lot of the protagonists seem to be in their twenties. While there are plenty of young business founders, there's also a big number of successful entrepreneurs who didn't start their role before they turned 40. In our series "Entrepreneurship 40+", we want to introduce you to some of these incredible personalities.

In our second edition, we had the pleasure to talk to Régis Lauprete who is the president of Magnitude which he found in 2018.

Introduction

Your Job / Company Name: 

MAGNITUDE, I’m the president of the company.

Your Field of Profession: 

I have 25 years of experience in Sales, Marketing, Management and Top Management.

MAGNITUDE in 2-3 Sentences:

As an expert in sales support and sales force externalization, Magnitude develops and implements human and digital solutions to transpose brand commercial ambitions in-store, and to make live the brand consumer experience. We are specialized in the sports industry.

Careerwise, what have you been doing before you got self-employed?

I started my career in a commercial position. First in transport, before realising that this sector was not for me. As ex top athlete, I have always been passionate about sports, so I did all I could to become part of a sports brand. After a short period at Nike, I joined adidas for 7 years. This is where my career, and with it my skills and knowledge of the industry, evolved and I learned to understand the functioning of the market. I started as a sector manager, before taking on the role of a field manager, followed by Key Account Manager, before ending my career at adidas with an international KA position where I took care of one of the biggest accounts for the brand, Décathlon.

For reasons of life choice, I left adidas to join Diesel, as Sales Director Footwear and Bags. I worked there for 2 years, before joining G-Star for 4 years as Country manager of Footwear for France, Spain and Portugal, to launch and develop this new branch for the brand. I worked a very short period at Ralph Lauren. That was my last experience working for brands which allowed me, at 41, to understand that after all these years in which it had been my dream, I had no longer the wish to pursue my career in this kind of organisation.

What was your motivation to found your own business?

To play an active role in my own life in a much more direct way! I was looking at some entrepreneurial friends developing their project, and despite the uncertainty or the round-the-clock occupation of their job, I envied their freedom and their capacity to create their own fortune. I felt ready at this point. I would not have been able to accomplish my own business 10 years ago. For me it was a revelation at almost 45.

How did you move from an idea to execution?

It took me exactly three things:

  1. Externalisation of Sales Force has been in my area of expertise for years, so I had the knowledge and confidence to move forward with my idea.
  2. After helping some friends creating a similar business, I got a clear idea of how it is done.
  3. The moment I met my future partners provided the final push to get started.

How is your daily life as an entrepreneur?

It is never the same. It can be a day at the office or traveling. It always suits me because it is me who decides. I prefer that to an employment.

What’s the biggest reward(s) of having your own business?

The pleasure of building my team and working day to day with them in the atmosphere that I always dreamed of finding in my previous jobs! That's a dream that became reality.

What, in your opinion, makes a successful entrepreneur?

Personally, I knew that it would be easier and in consequence more successful for me to integrate into a project in which I could use my already existent experience and network.
When you have only known salaried employment for years, becoming an entrepreneur is not a spontaneous decision, it cannot be improvised. Above all, you must be ready in your head. It's better to start your own business, because it's your desire, not because you want to run away from something like an unsatisfying job, but rather because you want to take on a more active role in your career. It is a state of mind. It cannot be controlled, it comes to you, and is reinforced through reflection on the project.

How do you think is it different to start an entrepreneurship over 40 than in your twenties?

At 40, if you perceive that if your professional evolution is not reaching the level of your expectation, it will be difficult to continue with the same ambition as before. While at your twenties you have so much time to grow in your role. Life aspirations are also very different in your 20s and your 40s.

For a lot of people, the fear of failure is the reason not to start their own business. What would you say to someone to convince them to go through with it anyway? Which impact did fear have on you?

I would not speak of fear. Being an entrepreneur is above all knowing how to trust yourself, knowing how to question yourself. I would rather speak of risk. The fear of failure paralyzes, while risk management can be very exciting. And failure is part of the entrepreneur’s experience, it strengthens them. So, my answer would be trust yourself. You are the only one who knows if you are ready for this adventure, and it is by listening to your inner voice that you will know if you are ready to go.


Interested in meeting other entrepreneurs? In our first part of Entrepreneurship 40+, we talked to Alban Le Pellec, the General Manager of the consulting agency All-Seasons.

Entrepreneurship 40+ in the sports business: Meet Alban Le Pellec

Sport Business Entrepreneurship 40+: Meet Alban Le Pellec

The sports sector is entrepreneurship to its core. As a quick evolving industry, it is marked by innovation and change, an ideal breeding ground for new business ideas.

Even though the sports sector is known as quite a young industry, with a lot of entrepreneurs being in their twenties, there's actually a significant number which is older than 40. To give you two well-known examples: Dietrich Mateschitz founded RedBull with 40. Bill Bowerman was 53 when he co-founded Blue Ribbon - which became Nike when he was 60.

While we associate young minds with freshness, innovation and braveness, all key factors for creating something new, middle-aged people tend to bring qualities that younger ones lack. Because experience counts. Entrepreneurs who have worked in the same field as their start-up were found to be 125% more successful than those without a background in their chosen sector. Not only do they have the skills and the network, they have the vision and experience on how to lead a company in the right direction, how to obviate classical pitfalls and how to make a tough decision when it is needed. 

We feel that it's time to introduce you to more entrepreneurs 40+ in the sports industry which is why we started an interview series with different business founders on their career and their views on entrepreneurship.

In part one, we would like you to meet Alban Le Pellec.

Introduction

Your Job / Company Name: 

All-Seasons. I’m the founder and General Manager.

Your Field of Profession: 

I have 20 years of experience in Marketing, Sales, Management and Top Management.

Your Business (Idea) in 2-3 Sentences:

All-Seasons offers expertise in Consulting, Distribution and Services for sport brands willing to develop their European business. We’ve got internal and external experts to establish and expand your brand awareness and sales. 

Careerwise, what have you been doing before you got self-employed?

I started my career in sports marketing before changing to Sales. Then I took my first step in the outdoor industry where I gained a lot of experience thanks to eight years at Millet, and after that evolved in the American group, Wolverine Worldwide and its sports division represented by Saucony and Merrell. For more than 9 years, I held several positions as Key Account Manager, Sales Manager France, Country Manager, and at the end, European Strategic Director.

During the last period, I served as President of the Outdoor Commission of L’Union Sports et Cycles, the French Sport Industry representation.

When I got the opportunity to work as CEO for an eye-wear company, I made the transition from sports to fashion. A position I held for two years. During this time, the desire to return to the sports and outdoor world got so overwhelming that I took part as a Mentor in the world’s first innovation hub Le Tremplin (Paris&Co). Then very spontaneously, in January 2020, I decided to set up All-Seasons.

What was your motivation to start your own business?

All-Seasons was born out of a need to support sports brands which have the wish to develop in the French and European sports market in a very pragmatic way. Concretely, All-Seasons takes its roots in years of exchange with Mick Midali, my partner in this adventure. There were needs and missing solutions in the market and we have decided to respond by combining our skills.

With cash being the key, it is important to combine the strategic vision with a rapid but sustainable implementation. And it is on these axes that we position ourselves. Nowadays companies must operate with agility and All-Seasons is there to help them succeed. We are guiding companies in their development of Sales, mostly in France and Europe, but also in North America thanks to our partnerships with Global Sales Guys. At the same time, we guarantee to respect and maintain its brand values while aiming for a higher profitability.

How do you move from an idea to a successful business?

With more than 20 years in the sports industry in different job positions, I know this market quite well, so the idea was evolving for years. To move from this idea to the launch of an actual business, that’s a question of developing a concrete business plan which helps transforming the idea to reality.

Now it’s up to us to convert this into success, even though the recent crisis [Covid-19] might jeopardise our agency's growth. But we think that the economical change happening due to Covid-19 can also be an advantage for us, showing brands that they have to rethink their current business model, their structure, their offers. And our expertise can help on this new journey.

What, in your opinion, makes a successful entrepreneur?

I don’t think I can explain what makes a successful entrepreneur, because I am only at the beginning of my story. But in my humble opinion, I am sure that expertise helps a lot. Commitment. Vision. Also, a clear positioning. Those are key elements.

How do you think is it different to start an entrepreneurship 40+ than in your twenties?

It’s clearly a different situation. At 20, your start-up is based mostly on ideas. And you can start it carefree, because normally, there's no real financial risk. 

At 40, with a family to take care of, you take bigger risks, but you have one strong advantage which is experience. And the success percentage is often higher for experienced people which researchs confirm.

For a lot of people, the fear of failure is the reason not to start their own business. What would you say to someone to convince them to go through with it anyway? Which impact did fear have on you?

Fear is an unpleasant emotion that emerges when you are worried or threatened by something dangerous. That’s why when you start your project, a solid business plan is mandatory. If your plan is well prepared and financial forecast not too optimistic, more realistic, you know where you’re going. The danger becomes smaller and fear vanishes.

However, the fear is always present, it’s a motivation for an entrepreneur. You convert it into motivation.

For sure, you feel it stronger some days, and it’s not pleasant, but it magnifies your happiness once you succeed. Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.

How is your daily life as an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur doesn’t really have regular office hours. There is so many things to fix, so many projects to follow, so many issues to resolve. We think, we live, we dream with our business in mind all the time. Our days are all different, so organisation is important and finding the time to step back to take in the overall situation is essential. An entrepreneur has to switch from one topic to a totally different one all the time.

Personally my office is at home, so I’ve dedicated a room to work away from my kids, and spend hours on visio-conferences. The days I am not sitting in front of my laptop at home, I am traveling to visit my teams, partners, fairs or retailers.

What’s the biggest reward(s) of having your own business?

The reward, the recognition, is something personal. Each person has different goals in their life. For an entrepreneur every single success of the company feels like your own. It’s the advantage of this position.

For myself, I set up my agency to have the liberty to choose the brands I want to work with, I want to share the same values with my partners, and have more freedom in my day to day job. My biggest reward would be to work with great sustainable brands and make them successful. It would also help a bit to protect our planet.

Boost your knowledge with these 5 online platforms: Free courses to advance your career


"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." - Henry Ford



You know what makes successful people? To never stop learning. Always be curious about the world, new fields and ways to improve your skills.
To get you even more motivated: Keeping your brain working will keep it healthy, preventing a bad memory or even Dementia.

So, how can we gain new skills? For some of us, we are lucky enough to have an employer who is interested in developing talents. It’s companies who are willing to spend on further education of their employees, for them to make a better job and bring in new ideas. But the reality is, that most people need to care for their own education. Not all of us have the time to enroll into university for some extra lectures or pay for further education on our own.
Luckily, the web 2.0, the interactive web, offers great chances for online courses and tutorials to learn new skills all by ourselves! Of course, it’s not only limited to hard skills, you could even learn about fields you were always interested in. Art, History, Biology, Psychology, there's no limit on knowledge.

Here’s 5 platforms to get your brain working - completely for free:

Udacity

Udacity’s platform is directly related to gaining skills for your dream job. With courses about programming, web design or data science, they offer nano degrees which are accepted as official references. 
Instead of lecturing they believe in practical learning.
Together with companies like Google, Salesforce and Facebook, they develop interactive courses for beginners, advanced level and professionals.
 However, not all courses are for free, so you have to filter in advance.

Some courses we really like:

MIT OpenCourseWare

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, short MIT, is known as one of the high class universities of the world. Mostly, it’s known for engineering and physical sciences, but their gradate programs offer a wide range of courses. In their OpenCourseWare, the MIT made their content from different courses available for everyone, sharing it online for free.

In the course overview, you can filter by topics and departments, for example Business, Fine Arts, Engineering, etc., getting the possibility to access the course online or download the materials. Furthermore, most of them contain video and audio lectures as well as assignments.
So you have to do your homework! To be honest, it’s hard to follow an online lecture without having the possibility to ask for more details, so we’d recommend it mostly for humanities, psychology and fine arts.

Here’s 3 courses we love:

(not all of them might be important for your work, but could interest you on personal level as well. Just learn, the benefits are yours!):

edX

Not only did the MIT provide their own content, they collaborated with Harvard to found edX in 2012. The portal offers courses from universities around the world, so you can enroll in courses from home and in your own time. Most of them are for free, and for a little charge, you can even get a certificate if you need it for your job or a future application. It’s open source and non-profit. The courses come together from all fields of study, like architecture, law, communication, business, etc.
So feel free to feed all your interest!

Our favorite courses are:


"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family." - Kofi Annan

The Digital Garage

A platform by Google about Online Marketing? That’s got to be a guarantee for digital skills! And it is. The digital garage’s online courses guide you through the function of search engines, social media, analytics and more. It’s a great way to spice up your CV and score a career entry in Online Marketing.

We recommend taking all courses, one after another,  to get into the field of Online Marketing.

Inversity

Iversity is a special online platform which focuses on higher education for professional purposes. Their courses are provided by business experts who formed courses in their professionals fields for you to learn. As most platforms, it offers free courses as well as paid ones. For the free ones, filter for „MOOCs“ in the course catalogue.

Three of our favorites are:


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