FRENCH CONNECTIONS: The Princeton business development club Princeton Expat Pro sponsored a networking event in town and on the campus last week, attracting some 70 attendees from many types of businesses. (Photo by Tamara de Ghellinck)
By Anne Levin
After three years of organizing gatherings over Zoom, Princeton Expat Pro (PEP) was ready to put together a live event. Last Thursday, April 13, the organization, which supports French-speaking professionals in developing their careers, partnered with Princeton University’s Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) and the Keller Center to present “Synergy and Networking.”
The idea was to connect University and Francophone (French-speaking) business leaders at the event, which was held at the Princeton Entrepreneurial Hub on Chambers Street and at Rockefeller College on the campus. More than 70 people attended, starting with a guided tour of the campus before hearing joint presentations by the Princeton Entrepreneurial Hub and Francophone entrepreneurs. A cocktail party and networking followed.
“It went very well,” said Anne de Broca Hoppenot, who is the honorary Consul of France for New Jersey and put together the gathering with fellow PEP members Laurence Stefani, Eric Deltour, and Laurent Metz. “We had asked for some money to organize a real event, and received some from the French government and consulate. Mostly, we wanted to connect the
University students and teachers to the French business ecosystem. We also wanted to attract some people in New York.”
The goal was “to foster synergies between Princeton University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and the French business ecosystem in order to develop future joint initiatives,” she said. In addition to the organizers, speakers included Anne-Marie Maman, executive director of the Princeton Entrepreneurial Council; Naveem Verma, director of the Keller Center; and representatives from Business France, La French Tech, the French American Chamber of Commerce New York, among other organizations.
“It was very interesting because there were very different kinds of people who attended,” Hoppenot said. “All were from business — some from Big Pharma, others from startups and nonprofits. “We’d like to do partnerships with young adults who are excited about starting new projects [in the future]. We want to maybe offer mentorships, share ideas, and maybe even partnerships.”
Hoppenot moved to the United States from France 30 years ago and has lived in Princeton for 20 of them. “We were supposed to stay two years,” she said. “As honorary French Consul of New Jersey, my role is to serve French citizens of the state. I spend a lot of time on the phone trying to answer questions and represent France. So, this event was a great adventure, proving the dynamism and vitality of the French ecosystems. We hope to do more.”
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