Professor at TBS Education since 2010, Servane Delanoë-Gueguen became the Dean of TBS Education on September 1st. Her new role within the faculty is the culmination of this entrepreneurship expert’s constant commitment to the development of the school and the success of its students.
Servane Delanoë-Gueguen has a PhD in entrepreneurship from the Open University (UK) and an MBA from the Mc Combs School of Business (University of Texas). Servane Delanoë-Gueguen started her career in finance at Goldman Sachs, where she held the position of VP of Fixed Income Sales and Trading, before moving on to entrepreneurship as the head of a start-up project.
Recruited by TBS Education as a professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship in 2010, she was in charge of the M2 Entrepreneurship and Business Development from 2013 to 2018, before managing the Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation department from 2018 to 2021.
SPEARHEADING SEVERAL PROJECTS
Deeply involved in educational innovation, Servane Delanoë-Gueguen has contributed to several structuring projects reinforcing the strengths of TBS Education around business initiatives and support for young creators. In particular, she co-created the TBSeeds incubator, a project dedicated to TBS Education’s student entrepreneurs, that she managed from 2012 to 2016. She has also supported TBS Education’s engagement in the Babson Collaborative network and the partnership with Babson College (USA), a global reference in entrepreneurship where she was a member of the Advisory Board. More recently, she spearheaded SEMIS, the Master in Management Program’s entrepreneurial initiation seminar, which offers a learning methodology based on experimentation, stimulating creativity, agility and the students’ collective intelligence. This innovative program received a Spotlight Award from Babson Collaborative in 2020.
Servane Delanoë-Gueguen has also published many articles in French and international academic journals such as Management Decision, the Journal of Small Business Management, the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, the “Revue de l’Entrepreneuriat” and the “Revue Internationale PME”.
NURTURING THE DEVELOPMENT OF EACH INDIVIDUAL
As Dean, Servane Delanoë-Gueguen will contribute to the deployment of TBS Education’s strategic plan, whose tenets involve the faculty directly: educational well-being, new campuses, research, new training models.
“Today, I want to put my varied experience and skills to work for the institution in a different way. Faced with unprecedented challenges, the world of higher education must innovate and reinvent itself. Through my new role, I wish to contribute to developing the solutions TBS Education will bring to these challenges. I will of course make supporting our professors a guiding principle of my mandate, so as to enable each of them to flourish in his or her career and to contribute to an education that best prepares students for contemporary challenges. It is an honor to have been chosen for this position and I look forward to joining a superb, dynamic and ambitious team.”
– Servane Delanoë-Gueguen, new Dean of TBS Education
“Servane Delanoë-Gueguen joins the management team that I am fortunate to lead. She will work alongside me to raise our school to its highest level of academic excellence and maximize the employability of our learners. Her personality, background, and academic and entrepreneurial skills will be tremendous assets in supporting the school’s development.”– Stéphanie Lavigne, Managing Director of TBS Education
[su_pullquote align=”right”]By Servane Delanoë-Gueguen[/su_pullquote]
When looking at business creation, people tend to take more interest in the project than in the entrepreneur behind it. However, starting a business has strong personal implications. Assessments of personalized support programs would be more relevant if they paid greater attention to gauging how entrepreneurs feel about their ability to see their project through to completion, particularly as regards the strategic and financial aspects.
What drives someone to want to start a company? Obviously there is the initial project, which may or may not result in the creation of a start-up, but above all there is the individual behind the project, the budding entrepreneur, who will end up transformed by the experience, whatever the result. The process is a form of apprenticeship, during which the business creator acquires new skills, develops new ways of looking at things, and builds networks. If the individuals manage to create their business, this personal transformation will provide them with valuable skills for the company’s development. If not, they will be able to draw on these newly-acquired skills to prepare an entrepreneurial project later in life, or to use their new knowledge working for someone else.
Taking greater interest in the perceived abilities rather than the number of creations
People with new business projects do not have to go through the process alone. They are even encouraged to participate in support programs, which may have a profound impact on the project as well as the person behind it. Unfortunately, when assessing such programs, this personal dimension is rarely taken into account: to evaluate their effectiveness, we tend to focus on the participants’ satisfaction with the program or the fact that they managed to create their business, but not on the effects that the programs have had on the budding entrepreneurs. Our study looked at people participating in a support program set up by Brittany Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI). The aim of the study was specifically to analyze this personal impact. Rather than focusing on the project leader’s actual skills, we studied their perceived entrepreneurial self-efficacy , i.e. how the individuals perceived their ability to create a business.
This perceived entrepreneurial self-efficacy – originally developed in the field of psychology – is a key determining factor in the process of creating a company, because not feeling capable can be a major obstacle. If properly evaluated, it can even foster the entrepreneur’s tenacity in the face of difficulties. However, this remains a perceived ability, which is not necessarily representative of the actual ability; indeed, certain individuals have a tendency to underestimate their abilities whereas others overestimate them. Finally, the perception can change, according to four major influences: personal experience, observation of others, verbal persuasion by third parties and emotional state.
The shock of reality
The study sought to measure the change in the perceived self-efficacy of budding entrepreneurs who took part in a support program by interviewing them at the beginning of the project, and then a year later. While we might expect participation in a personalized support program to have a positive effect on entrepreneurial self-efficacy (that is to say, the project leaders feel more capable of creating their company), the results of the study actually show an overall decrease in self-efficacy. If we look in more detail, the only positive impact was on entrepreneurial administrative self-efficacy – concerning the planning of the project and formalities – whereas perceptions related to strategy and finance tended to deteriorate.
These results can be explained by what we could term a “reality check”. At the start of the process, many budding entrepreneurs think that the administrative side is highly complex and focus on this aspect; then they realize that this is not actually the most complicated aspect, particularly since a number of measures have simplified business-start-up procedures over recent years. At the same time, they start to realize how difficult it is to find customers and funding, that there are competitors in the market, and that they never have enough time to do everything. All these aspects are often under-estimated when they build their project.
However surprising it may be, this result shows the value of having an objective assessment of start-up support programs, by focusing on the personal impacts: the aim of support programs is to help people with start-up projects set up viable businesses and understand the realities of the market, not to simply ensure that the majority of the individuals actually start their businesses. With this in mind, it is not necessarily a bad thing for prospective business creators to feel less capable at the end of the process than at the beginning. Participants who ultimately decide not to start their business, after appreciating the importance of having a customer base and a network, have the opportunity to ask themselves the right questions, to readjust their perceived ability, and sometimes realize they are simply not made to be entrepreneurs. They will be better equipped for the next project, or at least thy will have more realistic perceptions.
A practical tool for improving programs
This evaluation method is a valuable tool for improving support programs, with practical uses that can be taken advantage of almost immediately. For example, it may be interesting to adopt a differentiated approach depending on whether the people at the start of the program underestimate or overestimate their ability to create a company, in order to help them reach a more realistic self-perception. In relation to the case analyzed in this study, the support programs could focus more on strategic issues and funding.
These results are a step towards achieving an objective assessment of support mechanisms for budding entrepreneurs. Now, it would be useful to fine-tune the results with a more representative sample group of budding entrepreneurs and extend the research to different types of support initiatives.
[su_note note_color=”#f8f8f8″]Servane Delanoë-Gueguen is a research professor in entrepreneurship and business strategy in Toulouse Business School. She is responsible for the TBSeeds incubator and is joint Head of the “entrepreneur” vocational option. She has a PhD in emerging entrepreneurship from the Open University (UK). Her research focuses on budding entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial ecosystems, business-creation support programs, entrepreneurial desire and business incubation. This publication is a summary of the article “Aide à la création d’entreprise et auto-efficacité entrepreneuriale” (Support for business creation and entrepreneurial self-efficacy”) published in 2015 in theRevue de l’entrepreneuriat.[/su_note]
[su_spoiler title=”Methodology”]Within the framework of her research, Servane Delanoë-Gueguen conducted a longitudinal study. Based on a literature review, she developed a theoretical model with 3 research hypotheses concerning the evolution of entrepreneurial self-efficacy over the course of one year concerning individuals with business start-up projects involved in a support program, who had ultimately created their business or not, with gender differentiation. The model was then tested with a group of budding entrepreneurs. In the first year, a total of 506 people answered a questionnaire to assess their perception of their entrepreneurial abilities. The following year, she managed to re-contact 394 of the people concerned, of whom 325 had a genuine start-up project in progress. Out of this group, 193 people answered the questionnaire again. [/su_spoiler]