You’re not born an entrepreneur, it’s something you become: Hugo Di Carlo (SK 2017), Co-Director of Bitume in Lyon

26 April 2019

What will my life be like? Who am I? What am I striving towards? These questions usually found in the metaphysical, spiritual or philosophical spheres are increasingly cited as fuelling people’s desire to embark on an entrepreneurial venture.

That was the case for me.

You’re not born an entrepreneur, it’s something you become. It’s a life path that is constantly evolving, fraught with obstacles, doubts, joys, failures, successes, lessons... In short, entrepreneurship is living. It’s with these thoughts in mind, this vision of life, that I happily joined SKEMA’s MSc E&I. It seemed an obvious choice. Then over two semesters of discoveries, learning and work, one stubborn question haunted me: “What would I do once school was over?”.

I was afraid. Afraid of not starting/joining an entrepreneurial venture; afraid of “having to” settle for a “regular” job either consulting for a big firm or working as a business developer in a start-up; afraid mostly of not finding my way, of choosing a career path that offered little in the way of excitement and therefore not being true to myself and not finding my balance. My choice gradually became clear: after finishing my MSc, I would either start an entrepreneurial venture in France or head to Latin America to travel for however long.

I then got swept up in the whirlwind of life until today:

  • April 2017: after graduating from SKEMA, I joined Florent – a childhood friend from Lyon (since kindergarten) who had recently founded Bitume –, to help him manage the Rehab street art festival in Paris
  • July 2017: wrap-up of Rehab, 40,000 visitors attended, an insane number of press articles in France and abroad, and a well-deserved holiday in Marseille
  • September 2017: I returned to Lyon, our birthplace, with the desire to develop Bitume’s activities (artistic performances, scouting for projects, for buildings for new festivals, etc.); Bitume was now a team of 3
  • July 2018: we signed a commercial lease for a 400 m2 space in the Saxe Gambetta district in Lyon. Six people now made up our team
  • April 2019: after 9 months of refurbishments done entirely by ourselves (with precious help from our loved ones), Chromatique opened its doors to the public.

Two years have gone by since I finished school and, when I think about it, I can’t quite believe it. A SK MSc EI 2018 graduate, oscillating between the artistic/cultural scene and manual labour. Two years of facing life’s challenges, dealing with the doubts brought on by enforced waiting, experiencing the joys of completed projects, remembering failures, savouring successes, learning every day... in short, being an entrepreneur or, I should say, living.

If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be the following: find your balance. This requires knowing yourself deeply, questioning yourself about your own desires and expectations, and knowing what you want, but especially what you don’t want. This way you will know what motivates you or what you’re passionate about, and then you will find the energy you need each day to bring your plan to life.

Entrepreneurship is not plain sailing; rather, like travel, it’s an exquisite school of life. And when life can be so short, there’s no time for hesitation or regret. We graduates of prestigious higher education establishments have the good fortune of being able to land on our feet by finding a “regular” job rather easily if our entrepreneurial venture fails.

So if you have the possibility: go for it, surround yourself with the right people, learn to listen to good and bad advice, learn from your failures and successes, learn to dare.

Entrepreneurship is not an exact science; every entrepreneur’s journey is unique.
Yours will be too. It’s up to you to create it.

Written by Hugo Di Carlo (SK 2017), Co-Director of Bitume
SKEMA BS - Sophia Antipolis & Belo Horizonte
PGE - MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation -