Interview with Isabelle Guillaume, new president of BigBooster foundation

Isabelle Guillaume, Strategic Projects’ Vice-President of Schneider Electric, becomes the new president of BigBooster foundation and announces the preparation of a sixth season that will be focused on innovations addressing current environmental and societal challenges. She chairs with Sophie Jullian and Anne Buchet, respectively President of PULSALYS and Director of Laurent & Charras, the two other founding members of BigBooster.

Isabelle Guillaume, whose company supports BigBooster foundation through skills sponsorship, was a mentor for seasons 1, 2 and 5, and knows perfectly well the expectations of startups as well as the challenges that await them when going international. 

For her, BigBooster is a unique program as it is based on the collaboration between startups and a community of mentors and experts from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional ecosystem and other ecosystems of international partner territories of the program. 

Here, she looks back on season 5 and tell us about the orientations of season 6.

Season 5 was particularly innovative for the participating startups, what was different ?

Beyond the fact that it took place 100% virtually, with more international mentors, this season has, indeed, took a turn towards positive impact startups with adjusted selection criteria and particular attention paid to the impact of the value propositions of the selected startups. We have also extended the program to Europe with new partner territories for season 5 : Lyon and Boston, but also Manchester, Frankfurt, Turin, Lodz and Barcelona ! Finally, we have reinforced support for the winning startups at the end of the bootcamp : during this season 5, the 17 winners were able to prepare their development and implementation plans in two of their priority destinations thanks to mentoring and customized (à la carte) support during the 6 months following the bootcamp.

What are BigBooster’s ambitions for the coming season 6 ?

For this new season, we will capitalize on the new features successfully tested in season 5 and amplify them. We will thus continue targeting startups with a positive impact, by further formalizing our selection criteria around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We will also extend BigBooster to the entire Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes territory beyond the historic territory of Lyon and continue partnerships with European territories.

What message would you like to convey to BigBooster program stakeholders ?

BigBooster is a real win-win program for all of its participants. For startups of course, which receive extremely qualified input from the community of mentors in order to improve their value proposition and prepare for their internationalization. But also for the mentors, who come to bring their experience to grow these young ventures with immense potential and who, in return, feed on their energy, their agility and ultimately help develop their territory. I am extremely honored to have been elected President of the BigBooster Foundation and I would particularly like to thank Karine Dognin-Sauze, who has served as President from the start until this last season and without whom BigBooster would not exist