[Made in Aix-Marseille] News of the month with ZEI and the Kedge ecosystem

by bold-lichterman

From the start-up Zei, via Le lieu du mois Kedge, an overview of economic and digital news with Audrey Debraine, FrenchWeb correspondent in Aix-Marseille.

Audrey Debraine, FrenchWeb correspondent: Can you introduce yourself and describe your background?

Noel Bauza, founder of Zei: I am Noel Bauza, founder of Zei (the first ecology accelerator). Passionate about science and technology, I have long been aware of the urgency of responding to environmental issues, but also of the ineffectiveness of current incentives: ecology is not very fun, valued and rewarded, therefore perceived as a constraint, as a sacrifice in time or money.

So I thought about a way to change this approach to ecology during my studies in business school, and once I graduated, I embarked on the Zei adventure, a startup that now brings together 15 employees and partners.

Made in Aix Marseille News of the month with ZEI and

What is the concept of ZEI?

Zei brings together 2 activities, one for individuals, and the other for businesses.

Zei makes environmental action social, valued and rewarded for the individual, using the mechanisms of gamification, reward and social networks. Concretely, Zei references hundreds of solutions environmental issues to allow everyone to discover how to be greener on a daily basis, and each action (purchase of a green product or service, association donation, volunteering) is automatically rewarded with points that convert into gifts (massages offered, cinema or festival tickets, etc.). The actions are also valued on the Zei profiles of users with their ranks, badges, levels and positions in the rankings.

Zei also simplifies and enhances the environmental commitment of companies through intelligible, complete and transparent public profiles. This allows the public to understand simply what the company is doing on the environmental theme, but also the solutions remaining to be adopted depending on its activity. Rather than a label or a rating (which are generally opaque), these profiles provide a detailed understanding of the commitments (% of addresses supplied with green energy,% of offices equipped with recycling terminals, if a restaurant offers an option vegetarian,% of a brand’s vehicles that are electric, etc.).

All of this data is verified and certified, and these profiles are free for brands. The first pilot profiles should be released this summer. And as for individuals, an algorithm will offer tailor-made solutions such as an automated CSR advisor.

What is your vision of ecological responsibility, and what are its challenges?

Environmental action is not an option, it is a necessity to ensure the survival of our civilization in the coming decades, but it is complex to make it a priority in one’s daily life or that of a company. Indeed, its consequences are not immediate, personal or emotional. This is the reason why our societies are aware of the urgency to act, but that concrete action has still remained rare for 50 years. The challenge is therefore to find mechanisms to bring ecology closer to society, rather than to bring society closer to ecology. And that’s exactly what we plan to do at Zei!

Who is the platform for?

The platform is aimed at:

  • to the general public because it saves money by switching to green alternatives
  • to companies that offer solutions so that they can list them on the platform
  • more generally to any company wishing to enhance its environmental commitments, or have free suggestions to complete its action.

Made in Aix Marseille News of the month with ZEI and

What is your business model?

We have different sources of income, but the main one is affiliation for sellers of products or services (B2C and B2B) to whom we bring new demand.

What is your first assessment of your activity since the launch in 2017?

After 1 year of beta, we see that playing on emotional mechanisms is very effective in inciting environmental action: young people for gamification and the social network aspect, adults for rewards. The financial aspect is also very important: the solutions that work best are those that save money. We found that there was a priori that green solutions would be more expensive, so once the user finds out that this is not always the case, he loses this reluctance.

We also carried out several influencer operations which proved to be very effective in mobilizing the public. The most recent was an operation carried out with the Section Paloise: each point marked allowed 10 trees to be planted, and 1 more tree was funded for every 10 retweets of the operation. The operation had an organic reach of 11 million people, and nearly 2000 trees were funded in 1 day! We will therefore continue to develop operations of this type to democratize ecology (we have also created a ranking dedicated to influencers).

Finally, the more we advance, the more we realize the potential of what we are developing for brands. The environmental commitment can only develop in brands if there are means to promote it in a simple and transparent way. I am really confident in the relevance of the profiles and business tools that the team is developing!

Find out more

Meeting with Feyrouz Tripotin, Incubator Manager, and Quentin Dumontet, Entrepreneurship Manager at KEDGE.

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Audrey Debraine, FrenchWeb correspondent: KEDGE Entrepreneurship, in a few lines?

Feyrouz Tripotin and Quentin Dumontet: KEDGE Entrepreneurship is a structure bringing together all the initiatives and support systems for business creation within KEDGE BS.
With more than 30% of young people aged 18 to 35 wishing to create a startup in France, more than 400 applications to join the Kedge Business Nursery, the incubator and nearly 300 students present in the entrepreneurial systems (training, support, associations, certificates) we had to structure ourselves to offer quality services to KEDGE students and graduates who wanted to try the entrepreneurial adventure.

KEDGE Entrepreneurship differentiates itself from private actors in the support of startups. Our team is made up of operational staff, teachers, coaches and entrepreneurs with the particularity of being spread over our 4 campuses, Marseille, Bordeaux, Paris and Toulon.
We are 4 people involved full time on the project, Diane, in charge of the development of the Bordeaux incubator and the animation of the coworking space, Sébastien, communication manager on entrepreneurship and chief happiness Officer of coworking Daniel Carasso in Marseille, Feyrouz, startups program manager for all campuses (incubation & acceleration) and Quentin, entrepreneurship manager whose mission is to structure and develop entrepreneurship within KEDGE BS.

Can you present Kedge to us in a few key dates and figures?

KEDGE Business School was born in July 2013 from the merger between Bordeaux Ecole de Management and Euromed Marseille, an institution which today brings together more than 12,000 students, 60,000 Alumni on 7 Campuses in France and 3 abroad (Bordeaux, Marseille, Toulon, Paris, Suzhou, Shanghai, Dakar as well as Bayonne, Bastia and Avignon on associated campuses). KEDGE offers more than 36 training courses and has 3 Centers of Excellence and 5 Expertises, including entrepreneurship.

Kedge will open its coworking space, who is it for and what are its specificities?

KEDGE is indeed opening spaces dedicated to entrepreneurship on its campuses. Initially in 2017 in Marseille with 500 m² thanks in particular to a donation from the Daniel CARASSO Foundation, name of the founder of Danone and graduate of the business school in 1926. We will also inaugurate at the start of the 2018 school year a space of 300 m² in Bordeaux, then a coworking place of similar dimensions on our new Parisian campus. These spaces are essential to promote the sharing of experiences and skills between startups, professionals and students in order to create a community of entrepreneurs. We support both students and graduates, established creators and companies on topics of entrepreneurship and innovation. We thus cover various needs through dedicated training (from Bachelor to MBA), creation support systems (from pre-incubation, incubation to acceleration) and finally by intervening in large group projects (missions mixing employees, students, startups, professors and coaches). The natural richness of our ecosystem and its animation make our institution a real catalyst for talent in our territories.

Other devices welcome future and current entrepreneurs, in particular the incubator and the accelerator, can you tell us more?

We indeed offer various support systems for creation depending on the maturity of the projects. The first being the “Pro Act”, based on action-based pedagogy which enables students to be involved in more than 150 entrepreneurial projects per year. This year, the “KEDGE Business Nursery” incubator is supporting 70 projects for students and graduates from the idea stage to creation and the first fundraising. Finally, the “KEDGE Business Accelerator” makes it possible to welcome and advise a dozen more mature start-ups on issues of financing, national or international development.

These systems are based on the expertise of our teacher-researchers, coaches, specialist firms and business partners. In total, there are more than 400 application files to join the KEDGE Business Nursery, more than 300 consultancy meetings, 60 workshops / conferences and 30 coworking spaces made available for companies per year.

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What are the themes or types of projects hosted in these structures?

The projects or startups hosted are very varied in nature, but innovation and the desire for commitment are the main guidelines for students and entrepreneurs. While more than 60% of students say they want to create or work in a startup, the desire to develop a startup around their passion or the search for meaning are often the main drivers of creation. For example, we support projects with a social impact such as Zei (network encouraging responsible behavior) or GEEV (app for donation and recovery of objects). Others such as Telaqua (optimization of water consumption) or Knock (real estate search assistant) rely on artificial intelligence and are present at leading trade shows such as CES in Las Vegas or VivaTech.

What are your upcoming news?

As specified, KEDGE is developing rapidly in entrepreneurship, which has enabled us to be ranked by Forbes in March 2018 in the Top 10 in this field among Business Schools, welcoming “a great entrepreneurial momentum”. Among our current subjects, we inaugurated with AGIPI in May a Chair entitled “The self-employed and new forms of entrepreneurship” and signed a framework partnership with Airbus Helicopters on innovation and intrapreneurship missions. Other structuring projects are underway such as the launch of KEDGE Business Angels in June (network of funding graduates), the deployment of offers and premises in Bordeaux, Paris and Dakar from the start of the 2018 school year, as well as the launch of an offer support for dematerialized startups for exchange students abroad or our expatriate graduates, available in 2019.

Find out more:

KEDGE Entrepreneurship

KEDGE Business Nursery

KEDGE Business Accelerator

The correspondant:


Audrey Debraine is Head of Lab France at StarDust.