Gaële Le Noane has her foot on the accelerator and one eye in the rear view mirror. Four years after creating Marguerite & Cie, a menstrual protection brand, the entrepreneur runs a fast-growing SME. She has just completed the #ConnectHers support program dedicated to business leaders. “There are so many facets of entrepreneurship to discover that I didn’t hesitate to try the accelerator experience. »
A tool that the entrepreneur applied to implement for her negotiated fundraising “with complete peace of mind”, constantly referring “to the structuring of the forecast and the advice received during the accelerator sessions. A success, since Marguerite & Cie has just raised 1.7 million euros from France Active and two investment funds.
Almost tripling of turnover in 2021
The founder of Marguerite & Cie left her job as a speech therapist in 2018 after ten years in a hospital and eight years as a liberal. “I was relearning how to eat and talk to patients. She then created her start-up with the project of providing access to “periodic protection anywhere, free of charge, and that their composition is natural”.
Gaële Le Noane creates the first “menstrual box” in France, in partnership with the British company Natracare, world leader in healthy, plastic-free menstrual products. But over the months, it pivots towards BtoB. The box is stopped in 2020 in favor of a distribution model subsidized by companies, communities, foundations, and therefore free for users. “This is the first sanitary protection dispenser with a refill system, so that there is as little handling as possible,” she explains. And the success is there.
In February 2020, the Breton company welcomes its first employee. Two years later, “there are fifteen of us and our products are packaged and distributed by more than thirty people working in work support establishments and services (ESAT)”, explains Gaële Le Noane. Its distributors have already attracted more than 800 customers, “mainly colleges, high schools, universities and public places such as town halls”. In total, just over 900,000 people benefit from sanitary protection distributed by Marguerite & Cie.
The enthusiasm propels Marguerite & Cie into a situation of hypergrowth in 2021. It achieves a turnover of 1.5 million euros, an increase of 175% compared to the previous year. At that time, Gaële Le Noane was approached by BNP Paribas, who offered her to join #ConnectHers. This accelerator, created five years ago, helps a dozen female entrepreneurs each year to structure their development.
On the program: thematic training, online and face-to-face, individual advice and mentoring, integration into a community of alumni and partners (Femmes des Territoires, Pacte PME, Initiave France, etc.), potential funding … All for 5,000 euros, which can be spent on the continuing education budget.
From this year, Gaële Le Noane derives “only positive”. First advantage of this accelerator according to her: non-mixedness. A choice justified by Laure-Emmanuelle Filly, director of #ConnectHers at BNP Paribas: “These programs promote meetings and allow greater freedom of speech, in particular thanks to unifying events. »
Gaële Le Noane also salutes “the quality of the speakers and the contacts with large groups”. Among them, Nathalie Balla, CEO of La Redoute, or Hugues Le Bret, founder of Nickel, who came to talk about “their successes but also the difficulties encountered as business leaders”, emphasizes Laure-Emmanuelle Filly. “It was very instructive, we could hang up their remarks to our situations, talk about the issues inherent in our companies”, adds Gaële Le Noane.
The entrepreneur boasts a very comprehensive program, “from business strategy to CSR and sustainable finance”. More than just training, the program provides entrepreneurs with “practical advice in order to improve their pitch in the fundraising phase, and to connect them to the right players to accelerate their project”, says Laure-Emmanuelle Filly.