We met Anne-Laure Marchyllie, manager of La Turbine. This entrepreneur with an international profile talks to us about her career, her missions within the institution and her projects for the incubator and the co-working space.
Hello Anne-Laure, what path led you to the position of manager at La Turbine?
I have been fortunate to work in many different environments. I first went to business school in France. After graduation, I worked for almost 10 years in consulting in Paris and then in Sydney with clients in the retail industry. I really appreciated the fact that I was able to analyse situations, optimise operating methods and come up with new development solutions. After my experience in Australia, I came back to live in the North of France where I am originally from. That’s when I tried my hand at entrepreneurship by creating an e-commerce site to develop the B to C activity of the family business. I found it exciting to get into the core business of a company, to develop its turnover, to find opportunities and to be the one to take the initiative. Following this, we had the chance to come and live in Mauritius through my husband’s work. Once my family was settled, I had the opportunity to join La Turbine.
In concrete terms, what is your mission as manager of La Turbine?
My role is to coordinate both La Turbine as a co-working space and an incubator.
In the incubator, my role is to select innovative projects with the Start-up coordinator. After their incubation, I accompany these start-ups to help them meet the various challenges they face. My main role is to develop new programs such as the “Inspire” program that we are launching at the end of November. I also work with the MRC (Mauritius Research Council) which connects incubators with accredited incubators. I like to develop the Turbine as an incubator on a daily basis: there are a lot of projects to set up. I want to structure and offer even more services to our start-ups. In consulting, I already appreciated this ability to accompany and help people take a step back. The second part of my mission is to develop co-working. Our objective is to multiply events to promote entrepreneurship in Mauritius.
What type(s) of companies do you support?
We support innovative Mauritian projects that bring something new to the island. These start-ups are 100% dedicated to their projects and want to see their company grow quickly. We only support teams and not individuals because we are convinced of the importance of complementary skills to grow. Mauritius Conscious for example develops responsible and authentic tourism in Mauritius. Through its website and social networks, the start-up brings tourists from all over the world to the island and allows them to experience different activities.
How do you enable companies to achieve their goals?
With the incubator program, we offer 3 hours of coaching every week. Then I talk to the coaches. If specific needs arise, we bring in experts. For example, if a company needs a lawyer, we put them in touch with one. A certain number of hours are allocated to incubates for this type of interaction. They can also benefit from the free co-working space for the first 6 months. In addition, incubates have access to our network of business angels and investment funds.
What’s the difference between La Turbine and the rest of the world?
We set up a number of activities for co-workers to get to know each other (conferences, Friday morning breakfasts, etc.). We want to create solidarity between co-workers so that they can find solutions through each other’s networks. Our specificity lies in our human values: we are a small team that listens and is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed.
Is the Turbine only for incubates?
No, it’s not. The co-working space is open to all. The objective is to welcome individuals or small teams who can interact and grow their businesses by sharing. We are currently reviewing our offer for people who wish to work by the day or by the week. Today, it’s more of a monthly thing.
What are your plans for the Turbine?
We want to create targeted events for entrepreneurs to meet. This could take the form of workshops on specific topics, for example in the form of a speed meeting to find a business partner. Some developers are good at creating, others are excellent at marketing. These profiles must be able to meet! I also want to be able to help entrepreneurs to “pitch”, i.e. to present their content in a presentation, because for me it is the sinews of war to obtain financing!
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who want to start up?
The first advice I would give is to work as a team. You have to know how to find the right resources for your project, not to remain alone in your corner. Working in a co-working space allows you to refine your project and justify it. For me, a good entrepreneur is someone who knows his limits and is able to surround himself with those who will complement his own. A second, and perhaps most important, tip is to test your product as early as possible in the appropriate market. Just because we solve our own problem doesn’t mean it’s a sustainable model. It is absolutely necessary to go on the field, to talk to potential customers, not to remain on a fixed idea but to adapt and create a product which really answers a need.