Meet André Delafontaine and the Winners of BSL’s Entrepreneurial Competition

The winners of Business School Lausanne’s Entrepreneurial Challenge had the opportunity to complete 12 exclusive coaching sessions, both in-group and one-on-one, with André Delafontaine. As a BSL professor, André runs four different programs on Entrepreneurship and Innovation for students in both the E/MBA and the master-level programs.

After spending 17 years in multinational corporate environments, André co-founded a network of 800 Business Angels who have funded over 200 rounds in start-ups. His many years of experience with people, projects, and product management provide him with valuable insight to share. Read on to discover what BSL’s Entrepreneurial Competition winners, Juliette Bonin and Astrid Ussing, learned from André’s exclusive coaching sessions! 

Gaining Motivation and a New Perspective through Andre’s Coaching

The coaching sessions gave students new insight, positively impacting their business and personal development. In their interview, Juliette shares how these sessions helped her become more “open-minded” about business, while Astrid describes feeling encouraged and motivated. “It was quite a wonderful moment because André was sharing his experience and we were sharing ours” Juliette adds.

The winners also began feeling more motivated and independent after the sessions. As Astrid puts it, “I could […] reflect on the things that truly inspire me to keep working on my business, and I think that kind of motivation is what I really got from his meetings, just to have someone believe in me.” As someone who started his own start-up at 19, André feels that there is real value in coaching. “Giving back is such a powerful tool!” He says, “I wish I [had] a mentor and coaches at that time.”

André’s coaching helped Juliette realize that she “only need[ed] [herself] and some kind of strategy” to make her business successful

Working on Professional Development through Coaching Sessions

The winners received structured sessions that focused on various aspects of entrepreneurship. After presenting their projects, the winners began their one-on-one sessions with André to share and explore specific project details before joining the group. In the larger group sessions, all 3 winning startups joined forces and worked together, requesting feedback from André as well as from each other. This is when things changed, André explains. “The amazing and heartwarming part was when I started to move from professor to facilitator as the participants brought so much to each other.”

Those who want to study entrepreneurship will be keen to know that each session explored the following 6 aspects of the subject, covering how they applied to startups in all stages: team, product and prototype, market access, scalability, finances and financing, and board and advisors. The winners were also introduced to the concept of “Genius Zones”—discovering areas that align with their personality and areas of interest. On this, Astrid adds, “[It] was really interesting to me to kind of rediscover myself and find out that I could work on something that I could be passionate about.”

Coaching sessions helped the winners develop their business ideas

Exploring Main Takeaways for Those Wanting to Study Entrepreneurship

With the winners having to focus on their studies, their projects are currently on hold, but they are still full of energy. In fact, the 3 winning teams have stayed in touch and are currently working on a joint venture, alongside André Delafontaine.  

Students interested in an undergraduate business administration degree or are keen about exploring entrepreneurship should consider joining BSL’s Entrepreneurship challenge. Both winners encourage students to apply, referring to their own experience as transformative. On this, Juliette says, “I would definitely recommend it because it changed me a lot, it changed my perception, my view on things…I can’t say that I’m in the world of business now, but I’m beginning to discover new aspects of business and what I want to be in the future.”

Part of why these sessions are so insightful is because they provide an “outside view,” one that challenges ideas and produces feedback in a way that advances business ideas. By participating in BSL’s challenge, students gain real-world experience that can help them become better business professionals. Those lucky enough to receive André’s exclusive coaching are able to increase their business acumen—gaining valuable skills like resilience and grit, learning the importance of teamwork first-hand.

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