Plan to set up Gap in Europe

March 2, 2001

The French Grenoble Graduate School of Business is planning to set up a global access programme to help non-European start-ups expand into Europe and European firms to expand across borders within the continent.

The programme is based on the Global Access Programme at the University of California, Los Angeles. The three-year-old programme, run by UCLA's Anderson School, aims to help young foreign companies expand into the United States.

Teams of MBA students spend six months writing business plans that are then dissected by panels of venture capitalists, bankers, accountants and marketing experts, among others.

Newsha Ghodsi, who presented a plan for French competitive intelligence software company Digimind last year, appreciated working on a project with a real company that was looking for real funding.

"How often do students get that kind of opportunity?" she asked.

Grenoble's plan is at an early stage. Francois Therin, who teaches technology management at Groupe ESC Grenoble, runs a start-up incubator and looks after the French component of Gap. He hopes that Finland will be the main partner in the scheme. The United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain would join next, and Grande Ecole's 20 existing European partners would follow.

The first non-European countries to be involved in the project would be the current Gap partners, Australia, Chile and the US.

The University of New South Wales in Australia plans to set up a Gap for non-Australian start-ups and MBA and MBT students.

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