The French Chamber Startups & Entrepreneurs Committee is the platform for entrepreneurs to meet and network. In order to share experiences and visions, the committee launched a series of interviews with successful French Entrepreneurs in Singapore.
What is your background?
After graduating from HEC School of Management, I first worked for an event organising agency in Paris. Back then, my husband, Vincent, who had graduated from the same school, was enjoying a career in the financial sector.
In 2006, he was offered to move to Singapore, where I grabbed the opportunity to turn my passion for the violin into a profession ; I played with the opera and taught private tuitions as well as in the German School. What then sparked the idea of launching La Petite Ecole, a French bilingual education group for young children, was to see our two children grow up with a Third culture. Born in Singapore, they needed to maintain French as a native language, learn English and build strong cultural and social foundations for the future. Being French-born from Asian parents, I myself come from a mixed culture. Together with Vincent, we embarked on the entrepreneurial journey of spreading the best of French education for everyone.
After winning the French Entrepreneur Awards from the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore in 2015, we opened La Petite Ecole in Bangkok and in Ho Chi Minh, in September 2017.
A few words about your business
La Petite Ecole is a French family-run group of bilingual schools, across South East Asia. Our first preschool opened in 2012, in Singapore, followed by our nursery in 2015.
Our preschool teaches the French national curriculum, in French and English, for children from 3 to 6 years old. We are French-Ministry accredited. Our nursery welcomes the younger ones, from 18 months to 4 years old. In 2017, we had the ambitious project of opening two new schools abroad : a preschool (3 to 6 years old) in Bangkok, Thailand, and a nursery, preschool and elementary school (1 to 9 years old) in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. At La Petite Ecole and La Petite Crèche, the child is at the centre of his/her own learning journey.
The pedagogical team respects the individual pace of each child. We take pride in offering innovative learning methods, in a pleasant environment with green, outdoor areas.
Why did you set up your business in Singapore?
Vincent’s corporate job lead the two of us to Singapore. Once our children were born, it became clear to us that there was a need for a small-scale, French bilingual preschool with a forward-thinking approach.
At that time, the Lycée Français had a waiting list for bilingual classes and we could see other parents struggling to find alternative solutions for their child. In this multicultural environment, we saw an opportunity to not only offer the English language, but also promote and spread the French education, language and culture.
What was the most difficult challenge to overcome on your entrepreneurial journey?
Truthfully, we faced many challenges over the years, from starting a project few people believed in to human resources and admin issues… but surely our greatest, ongoing challenge has been (and still is) to work together, as a couple married for the past 12 years!!
What are the next steps for your company?
Right now, we are working on consolidating what we have already built, then we will think about the future. In the big picture for 2018 :
Potentially expanding to other parts of Asia/ the World:
Keep on building a strong brand in existing countries
Consider diversifying our educative portfolio.
A few tips for new entrepreneurs?
Maintain a good work-life balance
Know how to delegate
Never let negative feedback ruin your days
Always believe in yourself and your project!
Your motto in life?
Stay true to yourself, be happy, positive...and the rest will follow!
Your business motto?
Vincent Rosa and Viviane Salin, La Petite Ecole
The views and opinions expressed in these columns do not necessarily reflect those of the French Chamber members and management.