Encouraging entrepreneurship

The School encourages the spirit of enterprise by offering an entrepreneur option in the engineering program, a structure of support and experimentation (business incubator, FabLab), and by fostering real-world entrepreneurial initiative as a route to professional fulfilment. By becoming a mentor to a student entrepreneur you can develop entrepreneurial attitudes amongst your employees.

Teaching entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship at the School is above all a state of mind and a dynamic that seeks to foster innovation, initiative, and a readiness to take responsibility in organizations.

This specific pedagogical method alternates between management training, case studies, simulated responses to commissions, and events around the School’s existing start-ups.

Take advantage of all the opportunities the School offers

  • Events like “Entrepreneur for a Night”, a challenge aimed at students from all disciplines to simulate a business start-up in one night,
  • Projects, initiated by the faculty departments at the request of companies, where you can test your creative qualities in a real-world context,
  • Conferences of entrepreneurs,
  • HEC double-degree Masters in Management, majoring in entrepreneurship,
  • The status of student entrepreneur offering a one-year qualification in addition to the engineering degree. With this status, it is possible to obtain funding, access to co-working spaces and to the Cité Descartes business incubator. You also have the option to choose classes in the School’s existing curriculum (engineering program and Mastères Spécialisés®), where you can acquire new skills by attending as an auditor.
  • MBA des Ponts, focusing on entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology management, but also the Master of science in Management Sciences and entrepreneurship program at Berkeley,
  • Paris-Est d.school at École des Ponts (Stanford label), which teaches a world-renowned model of entrepreneurship through design thinking. You can follow this program in place of the 3rd year of the engineering program, or as a one-year post-degree specialization.
  • The School is also a partner of PSL ITI, a one-year pre-doctoral program dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship, where students can continue their quest for innovation within the framework of a thesis.

Program options

Year 1: 

  • Entrepreneurship Day
  • Middays of entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneur for a Night
  • Club Génius
  • Ponts Études Projets (junior enterprise)

Year 2:

  • Specific entrepreneurship program
  • cIM (MBA des Ponts)
  • Department Project
  • Short engineering internship in a start-up

Year 3:

  • ME310 Masters at the d.School
  • Social Entrepreneur Program at the d.School
  • MBA des Ponts
  • Masters in entrepreneurship with a foreign university
  • PFE (end of course project) within a start-up or creation of a start-up with “Student-Entrepreneur” status

Entrepreneurship through the application of research 

The School’s 12 laboratories are strongly committed to supporting innovation by backing projects developed by researchers : 

  • and their technicians in making and testing prototypes in their experiment areas,
  • filing patents: the School thus helps future entrepreneurs to make the big leap into the industrial world, as in the case of the company Acute 3D (specializing in the high precision capture of city models), started by the IMAGINE team at the School’s LIGM laboratory, establish as a company in 2011 and since acquired by Bentley Systems.

Entrepreneurship in residence 

Today, the School provides a home for young start-ups for a limited time, giving them access to its services, to the research laboratories, to faculty. It provides premises suitable for professional meetings.

The School provides a workspace for its student entrepreneurs in order to:

  • Maximize their opportunities for interactions and connections with the teams and researchers.
  • Encourage their contribution to an entrepreneurial culture within the school.

Support for Student Entrepreneurs

Business incubator and FabLab Descartes

  • Supporting the initiators of innovative start-up projects,
  • Facilitating access to innovation support bodies and funding,
  • A program of skills development workshops,
  • A working program, roadmap for managing and monitoring innovative projects.

Support and mentoring

  • The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Middays, a regular event designed to raise student awareness, from the first year, of the potential role of engineer-managers in the creation of dynamic and innovative companies.
  • Entrepreneur for a Night, 50 to 70 students form a team, for one night, to develop the outlines of a project that they present the next morning to a jury of experts.
  • Individual day-to-day support for young entrepreneurs, coaching sessions,
  • d.school Paris at École des Ponts and its design thinking methodology teach how to become an entrepreneur and how to build innovative projects.

Student Centers for Innovation, Transfer, Entrepreneurship - Student entrepreneur status - PEPITE 3EF – Paris-Est

  • Helping students make the move from idea to action.
  • Raising student awareness of entrepreneurship.
  • Recognizing business planning as a component of the curriculum.
  • Promoting the status of Student-Entrepreneur and of D2E.
  • Support from a teacher and external contact from the PEPITE network (entrepreneur, support and funding networks).
  • Proposal of a Contrat d’Appui d’Entreprise (CAPE – business support contract) in partnership with one of PEPITE’s business incubators.
  • ► To pursue this further (in french): BECOME A STUDENT ENTREPRENEUR

Entrepreneurship, by the Alumni and Fondation des Ponts

Through their financial support, alumni contribute to the funding needs of start-ups:

  • Fondation des Ponts Entrepreneurship Scholarship
  • Alumni project for the creation of start-up funds, notably from former students who are entrepreneurs.
  • Ponts Alliance is an association of alumni that seeks to support start-ups that emerge from the School’s laboratories or laboratories headed by School graduates, by providing advice and support.
  • A group of potential Business Angels ready to help and encourage the creation and development of innovative young companies.
  • Upcoming opening of a Coworking area in the Parisian premises of Ponts Alliance for our young student and graduate entrepreneurs.

Close-up on Echy and Internest

  • Internest designs electronic sensors (software and hardware) for high precision automatic drone guidance. Locates the drone in space, like a very accurate GPS, and automatically guides it along a preset trajectory. No need for a pilot!
  • Echy : (hybrid lighting), developing an ecological alternative to the use of electricity for daylight lighting. Natural light is captured outside buildings and brought inside using optical fibers.

The Descartes business incubator 

The Descartes territorial incubator* is a structure that supports the emergence and development of innovative business creation projects with high added technological value. A general business incubator, it supports creators of projects with a large scientific and technological content in the transition from ideas to proof of concept, defining a product*/market pairing, to a business plan* for a company with a robust finance plan. The incubator is addressed to entrepreneurs from all backgrounds: young graduates, PhD candidates, researchers, academics.

The GreenTech verte incubator

The GreenTech verte business incubator* is a support structure for innovative entrepreneurial projects relating to the ecological transition. Apart from offering free accommodation, this one-of-a-kind state-funded incubator provides support on entrepreneurship (sales, communication, funding, etc.) and on the environment (impact assessment, use of public data, backing from the Ministry’s scientific and technical bodies, such as Ademe), as well as assistance ins relations with government bodies. The start-ups are selected through calls for GreenTech verte projects (with subsidies of up to €150,000), School Competitions and hackathons organized by the Ministry of the Environment.

Station F

Our incubation programme includes

  • financial renting conditions offered by Ponts Alliane
  • one-to-one coaching by Ponts Alliance “start-Up” group members
  • priviledge access to Ecole des Ponts Paristech’s training programmes in entrepreneurship and innovation
  • free tax and law services
  • access to Ecole des Ponts Paristech’s laboratories for co-development opportunities.

In July 2017, 13 start-ups established at Station F after a tight selection. Future candidates are welcome, as long as they meet Ponts incubator’s criteria:

  • Topic linked to the School’s fields of expertise: civil engineering, material engineering, material sciences, computer sciences and mathematics, industrial engineering, economic sciences management finance.
  • A strong potential for growth,

Team profile: at least one team member should be a student or a graduate of Ecole des Ponts Paristech.