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Quentin Frecon of Schoolab in Building a Sustainable and Responsible Southeast Asia

Quentin Frecon of Schoolab in Building a Sustainable and Responsible Southeast Asia

Quentin Frecon

Country Manager
written by Mhicole Moral

Quentin Frécon of Schoolab in Building a Sustainable and Responsible Southeast Asia

The vast growth of technology has run wild as time passed by. The innovation of technology serves as a double-edged sword, capable of both doing and undoing damage in society. With the rampant social & environmental issues happening worldwide, one must offer a new chance of innovation and integration by bridging the gap between the economy and the environment—making a difference while driving the innovation scene and business success.

Supporting acceleration of corporate projects and startups, Schoolab is an impact-driven innovation studio that empowers people to lead a positive impact through entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit. Carrying the mission of Schoolab from France to Vietnam, Country Manager Quentin Frécon tackles the journey of Schoolab in leveraging innovation to support the local ecosystem, build a sustainable, inclusive, and responsible society and economy in Vietnam.

You have been very active in the innovation scene. Can you tell us more about yourself and your role in Schoolab?

I graduated with a Master's of Digital Marketing and Project Management. I started my journey at Schoolab in France as an Innovation Consultant almost five years ago. Now, I’m in charge of the development of the activities in Vietnam. My missions consist in engaging and interacting with the local ecosystem, identifying market gaps, needs, and opportunities, and building a strong community of partners and experts to create the best conditions to accelerate impactful projects.   

We are committed to driving positive social and environmental impact, while also increasing our partner’s operation and business performance, through dedicated innovation programs and framework that we’ve been adapting to the local context. 

What inspires you to enter the innovation industry? It would be great if you can share with us the journey that led you there.

I’ve always had an interest for innovation and the startup ecosystem, but I would say the real moment that convinced me on this willingness and potential capability to enter the space, was during my last year of Master in Digital Market & Project Management, where we’re tasked to develop a solution for a major Green music event… the research process, combined with the creativity and quick prototyping to propose in less than 2 weeks a solution, really highlighted the opportunity to continuously innovate and create both business, social and environmental benefits. 

From this, I joined Schoolab as a Junior Project Manager and Innovation Consultant. Despite being new to the environment, I was super motivated to learn more about entrepreneurship, different innovation methodologies, and developing sustainable business models for our partners. Schoolab, a pioneer in the innovation space in France, was the perfect environment to start this journey.

Working on a FinTech project for a major bank institution in France was the first hands-on project that enabled me to start gaining expertise in accelerating a project. I also learned how to work with different experts in their respective fields.

We found that Schoolab is a mission campaign. Can you share more about how you started with Schoolab, especially how it started in Vietnam?

The mission-driven aspect of Schoolab has started naturally. It has always been our mission to identify and accelerate new business opportunities for our partners and clients. In all the projects we accelerate, the first step is building empathy — taking the necessary time to understand all stakeholders involved in the project to provide a solution. Hence, listening to the market and users, consumers, and employees… sustainability was always identified as drivers of business success, either in terms of operations efficiency or consumer engagement. 

Sustainability, climate change, social inclusion, in Vietnam is not just about the trend, but should be considered as a necessity. It is necessary to ensure that the new product or service that are put on the market, their operation, distribution, etc., are optimized in a way that minimizes negative externalities and polluting impacts. They need to stop or drastically reduce the use of finite resources and raw materials. Hence, they need to rethink their business model. 

To sum-up, Schoolab's mission, as an impact driven innovation studio, is to enable connections & collaboration between different stakeholders and foster knowledge development through real life experiences with the goal to equip young leaders, entrepreneurs and managers to create a more inclusive, responsible and sustainable society & economy. Via 3 Pilars: CE, DEI & Sustainable cities

Given this information, would you mind sharing with us more specific programs or recent services to cater to the clients, customers, or partners?

More than 16 years ago, back in Paris and San Francisco, Schoolab has been creating and building a unique ecosystem with the mission to support our partners’ transformation, such as startups and students, to accelerate their innovation projects. We help them build, design and launch new products and services.

Innovation labs and programs created by Schoolab have been dedicated to different stakeholders. Schoolab has been trying to make them work together. Over the past few years, we’ve developed 3 key areas of expertise to support our partners and clients:  developing and executing an innovative and sustainable vision and strategy, project acceleration services, and designing open innovation programs. 

As one of the leaders of the innovation industry, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs in these trying times? Could you please give at least three characteristics that they might need in order for them to survive and scale up their businesses?

Resiliency and creativity should be your characteristic. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of work. With good analysis and creative skills, you will always find solutions to problems to move forward.

We need to ensure that in your product and service development, your decision process should be user and stakeholder centric. Look at what the market wants. You also need to keep looking after your team. Be a team player and surround yourself with like-minded and complementary people. Empower them, retain them, and I think that's really the key to success.

Considering the many years ahead of us, what’s next for Schoolab and for next year and beyond? 

Now that we see a bit clearer—that the economy is starting to recover from COVID-19, I would say Schoolab will be really continuing our work in Vietnam and South East Asia. Building more partnerships, strengthening our ecosystem of partners. and expanding across the region to be able to support our global clients’ needs in this really exciting and dynamic region. 

We will also develop and operate new programs and frameworks to support our partners towards a more responsible, sustainable, and inclusive way of operating. We will continue to make solutions and gain expertise around the circular economy. We have different academic partners, enabling us to connect industry and build strategic topics, priorities, or challenges with fresh perspective and ideas from the local youth. Schoolab will continue to enhance innovation for positive impact.

To learn more about Schoolab, you may visit their website here.

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