Coralie HONAJZER, a PGE Marketing graduate, tells us about her time at EM Strasbourg and the professional and personal experiences that led her to create Chiche, a company that revisits the aperitif with legume-based gourmet recipes! On March 8, it is International Women's Day and this is also an opportunity for Coralie to share her experience and her feelings about the status of female entrepreneurs.
A Track for Discovering Yourself
Coralie arrived at EM Strasbourg in 2009 following preparatory classes. Throughout her studies, she combined student association activities and professional experiences to develop her skills. She was notably vice-president of the Student Association (BDE): "The BDE organizes a lot of events for students. [...] I was able to learn how to manage a project from A to Z". Following her second year, Coralie chose to take a gap year and landed a marketing job for the hairdressing company: Kraemer International. She then went to Seoul to take courses at our partner university Korea University for a full year during which she "opened herself up to the world". "At EM Strasbourg, you are recognized for your abilities in terms of interpersonal skills and know-how. Everyone can reveal what makes them stand out.” Once she graduated, she quickly realised that large corporations and single-tasking jobs were not for her. "After my studies, I joined L'Oréal in Canada, then a company specializing in optimizing information systems. But I was still not fulfilled." The young graduate then had a brainwave: “I needed to be versatile and good at several things."
"At EM Strasbourg, you are recognized for your abilities in terms of interpersonal skills and know-how. Everyone can reveal what makes them stand out.”
The Meeting Behind the Chiche Project
"When I came back to France, I moved to Lyon and my only aim was to give meaning to what I do!" It was in this spirit and by chance that Coralie met Adeline, who is now her partner. Adeline, an agricultural engineer, shared her thoughts on legumes: although they have numerous health benefits, their image could do with some work. Coralie immediately saw it as a marketing challenge: “I was immediately excited by the idea and I thought we could do something with it!”. Chiche was born!
"It's important to choose someone you can trust and who shares the same values."
A Close-Knit and Determined Team of Women Within their young company, Coralie oversees marketing, communications, and business development operations. As for Adeline, she manages the R&D dimension, along with the production and logistics. Launching a business together was a real plus for the young entrepreneur: "At the start, it was difficult for my family and friends to understand what I was doing. To have someone going through the same thing was a relief, someone I could rely on." Coralie thus emphasizes “the importance of choosing someone you can trust and who shares the same values”. She also comes back to the topic of being a woman in the entrepreneurial world by explaining that for her, this has never been an obstacle: "I've never felt blocked, thanks to my parents and the values they instilled in me." However, Coralie is aware that the journey is not easy, but for her, “a lot of women restrict themselves. You have to be daring, whether you are a woman or a man, it doesn't matter.” She believes that there are too few women in the entrepreneurial world and remains optimistic that parity will progress.
"You have to be daring, whether you are a woman or a man, it doesn't matter.”
Tips For a Successful Entrepreneurial Project
When asked the question: what qualities are essential for your launching your own business? Coralie replied that there are three indispensable things. "Humility is very important, you have to accept that you are not an expert, we learn about areas we don't know every day. You have to know how to listen to outside advice." Determination is also essential: "You have to believe in your project. If you don't believe in it yourself, no one will." The last quality a young person needs to get started is daring: "You have to dare to do everything and above all think outside the box! At first, not many people believed in our project but we didn't give up, so go for it!”
Would you like to know more about the Chiche concept? Go to their website