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One in Four HEC Paris Graduates Sets Out to Launch a Startup

hec barometerEntrepreneurship is big and growing at HEC Paris, according to a recent survey of more than 8,500 graduates. The inaugural HEC Entrepreneurship Barometer, published last week, reveals that almost 25 percent of HEC graduates today are entrepreneurs, up from just 10 percent a decade ago.

HEC Paris has been increasingly promoting entrepreneurship over the past 30 years, through teaching, research, mentoring and resources like the HEC Incubator. To measure the impact of these initiatives, HEC Paris devised its new Entrepreneurship Barometer, which surveyed a representative panel of 8,500 alumni from the past decade from across HEC’s various programs.

The results uncovered three main trends, namely that the desire to launch businesses is strong and growing among graduates, HEC entrepreneurs are value creators in France and the businesses started by HEC graduates across sectors are characterized by sound, sustainable business models.

In terms of the growth in entrepreneurship, one of the major drivers is a desire for independence and the ability to innovate, according to survey findings. Forty-seven percent of survey respondents cited wanting to be their own boss as a primary motive for pursuing an entrepreneurial path. Interestingly, it is not just the younger students at HEC Paris who show entrepreneurial drive. In fact, the percentage of entrepreneurs within the school’s Executive MBA program, a whopping 44 percent, is higher than within any other program,

France seems to be the main benefactor from HEC Paris graduates’ embrace of entrepreneurship. Of the business startups launched by alumni surveyed, 84 percent overall are incorporated in France. More alumni of the MBA program – close to one third – have started businesses outside of France, but HEC notes that this figure is partly ascribable to the fact that 85 percent of the MBA program’s students are foreign and some of these return to their country of origin upon graduation.

The sustainability of the businesses launched by HEC Paris grads was another key finding of the recent survey. According to the Entrepreneurship Barometer, the survival rate of graduates’ businesses after three years was 80 percent, compared to a 66 percent nationwide average.  And about a quarter of the HEC entrepreneurs use fundraising, more than twice the national average.

Learn more about the inaugural HEC Paris Entrepreneurship Barometer.