I’m writing this first blog entry for the Renestance website on Thanksgiving Day 2014. As is the tradition in many families, we went around the table to say what we’re thankful for. When it was my turn, I said something that many would consider unpatriotic – I am thankful to live in France!
I’ve lived in France for more than 14 years now, and the list of reasons why I’m thankful to live here is always growing…but the new item this year is Renestance. I know there are a lot of wisecracks about the lack of entrepreneurship in France, the crippling bureaucracy, and strict labor laws. Nonetheless, living in France is what enabled me to pursue this entrepreneurial dream. Yes, it has been a tough year doing all the research, training, consulting with experts, strategizing, and testing the market to get a coherent business plan together, but I have not done it alone! From my former boss, to my husband and family, my social network, the local Chamber of Commerce, Pôle Emploi (the French unemployment agency), organizers and participants of Startup Weekend, and all the experts who have guided me along the way – I would never have come this far without them.
So how far along is Renestance? In the past year, the concept was tested on potential clients, business professionals, and financiers and found to be innovative, essential, and feasible. A panel of experts, commissioned by the Montpellier Chamber of Commerce, has validated the business plan and the preliminary financials. We have recruited top talent to head up the Administrative Assistance and Activities & Excursions branches. We have identified a property to serve as the Residence and Clubhouse and have estimated the amount of renovation work necessary. We have a registered logo and brand identity, a website, and a presence on social media. We are using feedback from a market survey to wrap up the programs and services design. The next steps are raising capital to purchase the property, incorporating the entities of Renestance, and rolling out the programs to our first clients.
I thank you for your interest in this project and promise to keep you informed of our progress. Whether or not you are celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope you have many blessings to be thankful for, each and every day. And I personally hope that you will also be able to say one day that you are thankful to be living in France.
– Dennelle Taylor Nizoux