Gael Le Noan keeps his foot on the accelerator and one eye in the rearview mirror. Four years after the creation of Marguerite & Cie, a brand to protect the menstrual cycle, the entrepreneur manages a fast-growing SME. She has just completed a #ConnectHers support program for business leaders. “There are so many aspects of entrepreneurship to discover that I did not hesitate to try the accelerator. »
A tool that the entrepreneur used for her negotiation fundraising “with complete peace of mind”, constantly referring to “structuring the forecast and advice received during the accelerator sessions”. Success, as Marguerite & Cie has just raised € 1.7 million from France Active and two investment funds.
In 2021, turnover increased almost threefold
The founder of Marguerite & Cie left her job as a speech therapist in 2018 after ten years in hospital and eight years of liberalization. “I learned to eat and talk to patients again. She then created her own startup with a project to “provide access to periodic protection anywhere, for free, and to make it natural.”
Gael Le Noin creates the first “menstrual box” in France in partnership with the British company Natracare, a world leader in healthy and free menstruation. But over the months, he has returned to BtoB. The box was shut down in 2020 in favor of a distribution model that is subsidized by companies, communities, foundations, and therefore free for users. “This is the first dispenser of sanitary protection with a refueling system to minimize handling,” she explains. And there is success.
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 employment support services (ESAT),” explains Gael Le Noan. Its distributors have already attracted more than 800 customers, “mostly colleges, high schools, universities and public places such as town halls.” In total, just over 900,000 people enjoy the sanitary protection distributed by Marguerite & Cie.
Enthusiasm is forcing Marguerite & Cie to move to a hyper-growth situation in 2021. The company’s turnover reaches 1.5 million euros, which is 175% more than in the previous year. At the time, Gael Le Noin was approached by BNP Paribas, who invited her to join #ConnectHers. Created five years ago, this accelerator helps a dozen women entrepreneurs to structure their development each year.
In the program: thematic trainings, online and face-to-face, individual advice and mentoring, integration into the alumni and partner community (Femmes des Territoires, Pacte PME, Initiative France, etc.), potential funding… All for 5,000 euros that can be spent on continuing education budget.
From this year, Gael Le Noan receives “only positive”. According to her, the first advantage of this accelerator is its immiscibility. Lor-Emmanuel Philly, Director of #ConnectHers at BNP Paribas, justified the choice: “These programs facilitate meetings and provide greater freedom of speech, in particular through unification activities. »
Gale Le Noin also welcomes “speaker quality and contacts with large groups”. Among them are Natalie Balla, CEO of La Redoute, or Hugh Le Brett, founder of Nickel, who came to talk about “their successes and the difficulties they face as business leaders,” said Lor-Emmanuel Philly. “It was very instructive, we could hang their comments on our situations, talk about the problems inherent in our companies,” adds Gael Le Noan.
Entrepreneurs can boast of a very comprehensive program “from business strategy to CSR and stable financing.” The program provides entrepreneurs with more than just training, “practical advice to improve their thinking during the fundraising phase and connect them with the right players to accelerate their project,” says Lor-Emmanuel Philly.