Abbas Mouzannar – a global entrepreneur in the field, via Lyon
An educational and professional journey embracing his native Lebanon, China, and France has fed the innate desire of emlyon business school student Abbas Mouzannar to become a global entrepreneur. Thanks in no small part to the school's MSc in Global Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Among his aims? Find a way of doing both profitable and sustainable business for the good of others, taking all the advantages of mobile technology and helping fellow budding entrepreneurs follow suit.
Q. Your journey has been a diverse one, not just geographically but also professionally. What finds you in France now?
Abbas: Well, after extensive studies both in English and then in Engineering in my native country of Lebanon, I then took up the golden opportunity offered by emlyon to push forward my entrepreneurial dream. I was already on that path as I had worked on the development of an app-based fitness scheme called Athlete's Diary over 2018-21. Moving to Lyon then opened the door to China as part of a consultancy project that was a component of the course. Prior to my arrival in France, I already had a thirst for business creation, incubation, and coaching. In short, I have always wanted to do business not just for profit but for the common good, including helping others get started.
Q. So why emlyon business school and its MSc in Global Innovation & Entrepreneurship?
Abbas: First and foremost, the more global outlook on entrepreneurship that the program not only offers but also delivers. I was also very attracted by the sustainability dimension, by which I do not just mean environmental issues but also those relating to health, treatment of employees, inclusion… In short, all the main UN goals in this domain. Among the many stimulating courses, encounters and activities, I participated in a Business Game that was scored not just in terms of profitability but also sustainability, which speaks volumes for the goals of the program. The emphasis placed upon innovation was also a big draw for picking the school and the MSc. In addition, I met a truly diverse and global network of classmates and faculty.
Q. What created the entrepreneurial bug within you?
Abbas: I think my previous experience working on coaching and fitness solutions for people, meaning setting up a real community via web marketing and other online solutions. Prior to that I completed a certification process in Dubai, then training, classes, and initial coaching. After that we launched an app offering personalized guidance based on each user's perceived weaknesses and actual goals. Needless to say, everything the MSc at emlyon had to offer then fuelled that passion even more, without losing sight of the overall aim to do business ethically, whilst innovating and providing something to others rather than just profit to myself.
Q. To what extent has your search for a global experience been satisfied by your studies and career so far?
Abbas: For starters, my time at emlyon has exposed me in the best sense of the term to a range of cultures and ways of doing business, including India, China, the US, and France. This has proven invaluable. The consultancy project I mentioned before was priceless as the aim was not only to coach Chinese start-ups in doing business abroad but also vice versa, so a real learning experience for all involved. I have also worked on a series of online projects designed to guide people in their business projects, including one for a French NGO offered to Lebanese businesspeople. In the increasingly COVID-imposed remote world in which we live, finding innovative solutions that cross borders is more important than ever.
Q. Innovation and the social contribution that entrepreneurship can make are key to the MSc program. Is this your experience of your educational and working life?
Abbas: I have particularly fond memories of the internship I did as part of the MSc, not least for the level of competition. I also remember the Social Entrepreneurship aspect to the 2nd semester, one that was very much concentrated in my case on Design Thinking with a series of Moroccan entrepreneurs and vendors. Business and Innovation in a nutshell, at the service of others. However, once again I return to the consultancy project with Shanghai. I sometimes view it as a tiny line on my CV but, in retrospect, I realise it is so much more than that. In part thanks to this project, I am now working as a Program Manager at Euratechnologies in Lille, Europe's biggest start-up incubator. They were founded in 2009 but, as luck would have it, starting the summer of 2021, Euratechnologies launched a much more international focused strategy. I jumped on the opportunity and have been working there since July 2021. emlyon has made a vital contribution to where I find myself today. I reaped huge benefits from program and its numerous advantages and plan to put them to good use in my career!