Intrapreneurship to boost innovation and agility

The Internal Start-up Call is the big intrapreneurship programme launched by Societe Generale to boost innovation and agility. The dynamism of internal start-ups like Moonshot-Internet, Elyxir and Step 31 has confirmed the strong entrepreneurial spirit on which the Group has decided to focus. These intrapreneurs’ journeys should benefit everyone, first and foremost the Group’s 30 million clients.

Frédéric Oudéa Chief Executive Officer

All our clients’ behaviour is changing. We have a duty to question the way we provide services and to anticipate tomorrow’s services.

Intrapreneurship: generate momentum to create new high-potential businesses

Intrapreneurship is an in-house entrepreneurial approach within the Group. The aim is the end-to-end creation and development of an innovative project, with the Company’s support, whilst continuing to be a paid employee. The concept originated in the United States in 1976 and was led by entrepreneurs and authors Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot. It first appeared in Europe in the late seventies, in Sweden, with the Foresight Group.

Its benefits? It allows an organisation to capitalise on its staff members’ knowledge of client realities to detect niche opportunities and rapidly launch innovative and differentiating projects, by freeing oneself from traditional work methods. It also entails adopting new management methods and boosting agility and the internal disruption ability in order to accelerate transformation.

For the creators of internal start-ups, it’s a safety net enabling them to pursue their ideas, create momentum and set their targets higher to imagine high-potential disruptive businesses without focusing on the risks.

Societe Generale is supporting those with disruptive projects

In permanent interaction with the innovation ecosystem, the Group constantly opens its doors to new practices in start-up mode, inspiring changes in the way it operates internally. A number of internal start-ups have already emerged, like Elyxir, which is reinventing financial coaching, and Moonshot-Internet, which is developing contextual insurance for e-traders. The need to encourage the emergence of disruptive innovations, supported by new approaches, to accelerate the Group’s transformation justified the launch of a programme devoted to intrapreneurship: the Internal Start-up Call.

Invent the future with flexibility

Within the framework of the Internal Start-up Call, intrapreneurs benefit from an acceleration programme at partner incubators in France and abroad. Within these accelerators, they put new practices such as design thinking into action, talk with researchers, entrepreneurs and students, test, challenge and pivot their concept in order to best adapt it to the needs of tomorrow’s clients and market expectations.

#InternalStartupCall: the story of Societe Generale intrapreneurship programme by Startup Begins

Internal Start-up Call: think outside the box, build into the box.

The Group’s commitment and involvement at every level is the strength of an initiative like this one. Societe Generale’s Management Committee is a sponsor of these intrapreneurship projects. To support our intrapreneurs, managers are adopting a new stance inspired by that of a venture capitalist. The internal start-ups also benefit from the support of a task force of in-house experts to answer their questions and simplify processes, in order to facilitate and speed up their approaches, whatever the field in question.

“You have to be prepared to pivot at any time, know how to be highly manoeuvrable and move forward in test & learn mode, explains Frédéric Oudéa, the Group’s CEO. To achieve this, we also need to tackle different ways of working and be ready to overhaul our internal organisations. We will also have to cope with the reality of complex internal decision mechanisms and will have to free ourselves of our traditional governance methods… and take responsibility for this.”

Internal Start-up Call: the sponsors’ vision

The Internal Start-up Call programme in figures:

  • More than 15,000 participants in this major intrapreneurial programme

  • More than 600 start-up concepts put forward concerning 17 strategic innovation themes

  • 144 start-ups selected to pitch their project to the Management Committee

  • 9 countries represented

  • 70 start-ups have found a sponsor

  • 150 million euros invested by Societe Generale in the Innovation Fund over 3 years

To go further


Internal Startup Call

Societe Generale has launched a major intrapreneurship programme known as Internal Startup Call in November 2017. The objective was to enable disruptive internal intrapreneurial projects to emerge that will be the embryos of our future products and services, including projects that go beyond traditional banking services.Following a selection phase, 60 internal startups has been accelerated during 6 months in France and internationally at our innovation partners.

Find out more about Internal Startup Call

Moonshot-Internet Insurtech gem

Founded by three Societe Generale Insurance intrapreneurs, Moonshot-Internet is already one of France’s top 20 Insurtechs, according to the rankings established by Usine Digitale, thanks to its contextual insurance that strengthens customer relations.

Find out more about Moonshot

Hadrien Devichi and Vianney Chevalier, creators of Elyxir

Financial coaching app Elyxir

What is the idea behind Elyxir? To create a new financial coaching app to enable people to access quality asset management advice. For non-specialists, we're talking about modelling every possible option when faced with an investment or savings decision in order to identify the most efficient strategy. It may sound simple, but it's a major differentiating factor for clients.

Read the article