One of our ambitions at the MIC Brussels is to empower girls and women in entrepreneurship and IT. During the next weeks, through the series of portraits “Women, IT & Entrepreneurship”, we will bring in the spotlight inspiring key-actresses of these worlds. We are dedicated to have more women take the step and become successful IT entrepreneurs!
Anne Collet: When IT meets Entrepreneurship
Anne Collet wears multiple hats in the IT and entrepreneurial fields. With her endless energy, she manages to cope both with Le Wagon, a nine-intensive-weeks program where entrepreneurs or aspiring developers learn to program in the “startup way”. While she was not meant to end up in that world, it was love at first sight.
A captivating community
“At some point, the computer guy [from the consultancy company she used to work for] told me to study by myself if I wanted to go further.” By learning how to go further in her IT missions, she realized she enjoyed the tech field and decided to start a Master in ICT. “It was great but very abstract and I was frustrated not having practiced coding a bit more. That’s why I then decided to pursue with a long training in web application development at Interface 3, which gathers women from all sectors of society.” She carried on her practice through internships in tech startups: “I was captivated by that community. They were always willing to share and help you. I thought ‘if it really is like that, I want to be part of that environment.’ Contrary to common belief, developers are welcoming and what I really appreciate is their intellectual honesty.”
During Summer 2014, she was approached by the founders of Le Wagon. “The concept was already a success in Paris. The idea had come from the observation that many talented people were leaving Europe for the United States because they could not find the adequate IT profiles here. With Le Wagon, they offered the opportunity to entrepreneurs to learn how to develop their M.V.P. (Minimum Viable Product) themselves.”
Being in tune with the developers
From the very beginning, they decided to offer this intensive course in English in Brussels (while the program is still taught in French in Paris): “our objective was to not take a side from the language point of view. We actually ended up with many international students, coming from all over the world [from 49 different countries].” This was the symptom of a need: “being in tune with their developers is a key component of the success of these entrepreneurs, everywhere in the startup world.”
It is necessary to build federative projects
Anne Collet understands the utility of this course in a world that keeps moving and where universities do not follow fast enough. “We should anyway work together so that nobody is left on the side in this tech revolution. It is also necessary to build projects that are federative.” While she notices there were generally more than 25% of women attending Le Wagon, Anne Collet highlights the fact that this field is also a more global opportunity for people from other sectors: “the entry costs are much lower, people are more keen to start their business. The highest cost nowadays is the MVP development and learning how to build one gives more credibility to the entrepreneur.”
Being a role model for girls and women
As for the proportion of women following Le Wagon, she explains it by the presence of more women than the usual in the team of professional developers that come and teach during the bootcamp: “More and more girls and women realize that developing is not a boring job but a great creative tool. While they used to focus on the front-end, they realize now that they like (and are really good at) the back-end as well! I think that one key aspect that could give rise to a more feminine audience in the IT fields is more role models.” And by driving Le Wagon, Anne Collet is one of them!