Alexia Lefeuvre, Communication Manager, PriceMinister-Rakuten

PriceMinister-Rakuten is located in one of the most inspiring parts of Paris – a beautiful historic grand magasin (shopping mall) in an area that Parisians have begun calling Silicon Sentier. And with good reason – it’s crawling with startups, creative labs and agencies with funky names on their doors. As a former startup that is now part of one of the biggest internet companies in the world, we at PriceMinister are reminded of our roots every time we come to the office.

In the 17 years since its founding, PriceMinister has come a long way, and we’ve always been grateful for the support we’ve received. That’s why we started looking for opportunities to give something back, to help and support others in the way we were once helped. That’s how we met the great team behind Paris Pionnieres.

Paris Pionnieres is considered the leading incubator for women founders and has supported more than 200 startups in a 12 year history. They encourage and empower women entrepreneurs and proudly promote gender equality in the entrepreneurial world.

When we first set foot in their office, we immediately fell in love: the old building, the sound of lively conversations and the open space. It didn’t take us long to come up with a plan for this inspirational atmosphere. Under the project name “skills sponsorship,” we started a mentorship program in which professionals from PriceMinister-Rakuten were able to spend some of their time helping startups incubated within Paris Pionnieres.

Rakuten PriceMinister's Paris Pionnieres is considered the leading incubator for women founders and have supported more than 200 start-ups in their 12- years history.

Paris Pionnieres is considered the leading incubator for women founders and has supported more than 200 startups in its 12 year history.

The support ranges from one-time advice to long-term contributions, but the idea behind it is simple: By building bridges, we will be able to leverage both the experience and skills of PriceMinister employees and the disruptive ideas and approaches of the startups.

So far, Paris Pionnieres has proven popular with local innovators. Participants to date include: Kokoroe, a start-up specializing in online education, which worked with PriceMinister’s Head of Product, Raphael Bonstein; Hopfab, a company focused on tailored furniture design, that worked with Francois Duprat, Price Minister’s design-loving Product Manager; and Terroir Mon Amour, a marketplace that carries the best of French local produce, which teamed up PriceMinister’s Head of Legal, Benjamin Moutte, on the terms of use for their website.

Of course, the learning goes both ways. The program provides the perfect chance for a change of scene for our staff and a great way to refuel with a true hands-on mentality and entrepreneurial spirit. Thinking outside the box is a lot easier if you’re actually outside the box – the box being your own office!

Since the launch of the initiative in late 2016, various departments ranging from Big Data, Legal, SEO, Product Management and Communications, have contributed to the program, and we currently have more than 10 active and regular mentors.

With more and more mentors now applying for the program, we are looking forward to an exciting year with even more energy, sharing and synergy between PriceMinister and the Silicon Sentier.

Even when you’ve grown up, you should never forget where you came from. Not only is this important in order to know to whom you owe your gratitude, but it’s a great way to remember what made you strong in the first place. And if you maintain this link with your past, it might just be your biggest chance to foster innovation and secure your own success in the future.


Check out this video for more on PriceMinister-Rakuten’s collaboration with Paris Pionnieres: