Smile in difficulties, this is the most precious advice that this opus, written by Efuet, gives us. Starting from nothing and building an empire is the dream of many ambitious entrepreneurs. A dream that for most of them is not really fulfilled on the scale they would have imagined.
Entrepreneurship is a fashionable phenomenon, made easier by simplified administrative procedures in recent years. In 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor published a curve of entrepreneurial intentions in Europe, putting France largely in the forefront over the last twenty years. According to INSEE statistics, 25% of businesses fail within the first 2 years, and 49.5% fail within the first 5 years. This failure rate is even higher for start-ups: where we have 80% failures.
The reasons for this failure are numerous.
Some companies are based on unrealistic, non-innovative models, and do not solve a vital enough need to ensure their economic survival. Others, although innovative, unfortunately, do not benefit from enough support and guidance to open doors that would give them access to resources that are unfortunately not predestined for them, due to their social rank, their circle of acquaintances, their origin…
This is the case of Efuet, who presents his startup “World like Home” as a solution to the reception problem that he, like many other students, had to face upon their arrival in France. Of course, his aim is not to limit himself to France or to students, but to remove the feeling of loneliness and disorientation that one feels when arriving in a new city, a new country. Thanks to his project, we would be welcomed upon our arrival by a World like Home volunteer who would be our guide.
The company based in Le Mans was created in 2015 and very quickly received strong local media coverage, which even earned it an article in the famous newspaper Le Figaro. All the signals seem to be green, but very quickly the magic fades away… nationality, accent, papers, this is roughly the lexical field of the different reasons for the failure of this innovative startup which could have followed the trajectory of a similar platform, Airbnb.
Creating a company as a non-European foreign student is impossible, you have to apply for a change of status which, according to the prefectures, can take more than 4 months. Once you have acquired the status, you can run your own business but it is forbidden to have a secondary activity as an employee on the side to help finance your business in its early stages. However, according to INSEE statistics, a majority of entrepreneurs keep a salaried activity in their beginnings, this is also the case of the famous Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
The SINE survey tells us that businesses created by foreigners are less likely to survive than those created by the French. The calculation of the probability of survival of a business according to the French nationality or not of its creator, all other things being equal, thus erasing the effects of structure (diploma, age, sex, etc.) confirms the extremely discriminatory nature of the “nationality” variable.
This piece “Smiling in Hardships”, written in two versions, English and French (bilingual author) obviously does not only talk about discrimination but also about hope, resilience, hard work, pain, happiness, mistakes, family, friendship, associative life, integration, sports, philosophy etc… As you will have understood, this is a book about life, through which we discover the troubling story of the young engineer and entrepreneur Efuet.
Born in the small village of Owe Muyuka in Cameroon, Efuet And. Atem is an engineer, CEO and Founder of World like Home.