"1 Woman, 1 Passion" podcasts - Episode#3: Aude Guo, Co-Founder of InnovaFeed
Valérie Bokobza: Hello everyone. I am Valérie Bokobza, Head of Development at Societe Generale Private Banking and I am delighted to present a new episode of "1 woman, 1 passion". The objective is to share with you the journey of a woman entrepreneur, in other words, to give the floor to an inspiring woman. Today I'm hosting Aude Guo. Hello Aude.
Aude Guo: Hello Valérie.
Valérie Bokobza: You are the co-founder of InnovaFeed, which specializes in insect proteins and has just been listed among the 120 most promising French start-ups(1). You were also appointed, at 34, to the FT120 (French Tech Next 120)Board Impact(2), the mission of which is to advance diversity and gender issues in the technology sector. Aude, what were the accelerators in your career and how did you go from consulting at McKinsey to raising insects and protecting the planet?
Aude Guo: I learned a great deal at McKinsey, where I had the opportunity to work with different sectors, different business models, and very diverse issues, which I think formed a good basis for an entrepreneurial project. And I wanted this project to be more concrete and to put my energy into something that made sense. I met three of my associates who shared the same desire, and very quickly, we became interested in the question of the sustainability of the food system, and more broadly, in climate change. Sustainability is important because our food system is responsible for more than 30% of current carbon emissions. We asked ourselves this question of how we can feed more and more people, with better quality nutrients, while reducing our footprint and preserving the planet. And that's where we got the idea of raising insects, because insects are an extremely rich source of nutrients, and naturally, they consume few resources. And so, using this new source of nutrients would allow us to reduce the impact, our impact and the impact of our food system on the planet.
Valérie Bokobza: You are one of the seven women entrepreneurs of FT120 and the subject of gender equality is very close to your heart. How do you work to advance this cause?
Aude Guo: You have to know that French Tech brings together technology companies that will be carriers of tomorrow's projects, but women are still not very present. There are only 20 to 25% of women in the tech industry today, so it's very low. There are structural issues, of course, because these are the same rates that we find in our schools, in the training courses. But there are also questions around codes, dynamics that remain very masculine and more or less conscious biases that structure tech work environments, and that don't necessarily make women want to be part of them. So the role of the Board Impact, my role in this Board, is to propose concrete actions that help the ecosystem to act better and to better address these issues, and very concretely it is for us to think about how to make our work environments more inclusive, and how to give women meaning, and how to make them feel comfortable and valued in our companies.
Valérie Bokobza: Maybe you could give us some examples of women who inspired you and some advice you would have liked to have been given earlier in your career?
Aude Guo: Of the women who inspire me, it is above all my mother who has been a central figure in my life, with whom after growing up in China - I grew up in Beijing - I discovered, Canada and then France, quite different worlds. And my mother taught me not only to understand new languages but also to decode new cultures, I think, more generally. As a result, I am very inspired by women who have succeeded in cultivating a personal passion from which they have been able to draw, to preserve an energy, a sufficient vital force. And so I like very much the figures of women explorers, a little bit of adventurers, a lot of writers too, who knew how to keep the sense of wonder. I think of Mary Oliver, an American poet, who manages to transmit this wonder. And I would say, more generally, in fact, the women I work with on a daily basis, who have succeeded in making choices that are sometimes a little atypical, but in order to preserve their vital force, the energy they felt for a project. So that's the advice I would give to young women who are starting out: it's also by preserving our energy that we manage to give it to our projects, to create an impact for ourselves and for others.
Valérie Bokobza: Thank you very much for these exchanges, this sincerity. See you soon on Societe Generale Private Banking.
(1) La French Tech is the French movement for start-ups. This ecosystem brings together startups, investors, decision makers and community builders. Its mission is to make France one of the most attractive countries in the world for start-ups that want to launch themselves, conquer international markets and build a meaningful future. The FT120 (French Tech Next 120) ranking of the French Tech is an annual promotion of 120 French start-ups and scale-ups selected to be supported in their development. (Source: https://lafrenchtech.com/fr/)
(2) The Board Impact is a French Tech body whose mission is to establish best practices around diversity and gender. It is composed of 6 members from start-ups and 3 actors from the Tech world. (Sources: La French Tech).
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