In the process of setting up my business, I learnt about a great scheme called HDSI (“Haute de Seine Initiative”) which helps entrepreneurs not only in financing their projects but also in helping them carve the way forward towards launch. They have lots of training workshops and subject matter experts who can help answer questions on different areas like human resources or legal issues. On the funding side, HDSI also propose several solutions including interest-free loans and bank guarantees (your project, if approved, must be then be combined with a bank loan). I wish I had come across them earlier and, if you are an entrepreneur launching a business and unfamiliar with them, you really should check them out: www.hdsi.asso.fr/
Today, I took the last step in the funding application process with them. This involved a presentation of my Connect Café project and business plan in front of a panel of 10 people. Despite spending lots of preparation time going back through my plan and my notes, I was quite nervous as the vote of the panel needed to be unanimous for my project to be approved.
I am happy and relieved to say that the HDSI panel backed my project both instantly and in unanimity. It is really good for the morale and it is, hopefully, also a good sign for the future that a panel of cross-industry experts believes in my future vision and plans for Connect Café 😊