“To me, entrepreneurship means something different. I think of it as identifying and valuing opportunity.” - Glenn Hubbard
At IMHI, students have the possibility of choosing among four different concentrations—Luxury Services Management, e-Commerce, Real Estate and Development or Entrepreneurship—with the aim of personalizing their educational experience and expertise for the future. The Entrepreneurship specialization focuses on providing students the tools and thinking required to start their own business in the hospitality industry, and this year, there are a number of students who have gone even further than the theory to launch their own businesses while completing their studies.
One of these students is Norman Kolton, who is in the process of raising funds for his restaurant, which is to be the first to offer Bangkok style street food in Paris. He describes Mama Street as a place where customers “will find the flavors, smells and excitement of Bangkok” in a venue with “a style that is deeply inspired by [the city’s] street restaurants with colors, materials and décor that are perfectly blended to create a real feast for the senses.” When asked what was the greatest motivation for launching this business, Norman cited the excitement of creating a project from A to Z, being his own boss and finding a way to truly express all his creativity within the sphere he is most passionate about. And Mama Street is definitely expected to embody this sense of creativity as “an artsy place featuring regular exhibitions from local photographers, graffiti and street artists. Mama is an open space where all dishes are prepared,” before the customers’ eyes, “just as it's done in Bangkok!”
Norman also mentioned the importance and the role that IMHI and ESSEC played in the development of his concept. From finance classes that helped him “create the financial accounting system” for the restaurant to “ESSEC Ventures, which allowed [him] to meet professionals in all different areas,” the educational environment that surrounded this idea was beneficial in a variety of ways, including the ability to reach out directly to some of his target customers, fellow classmates and students. In addition, Norman cited the advice and feedback of many professors as crucial in his venture and he states, “ESSEC gave me all the confidence needed to create my business.”
Currently working on raising funds through foodraising.com, a crowd funding platform for projects linked to culinary themes, Norman is excited about the possibility of “being involved in all the different aspects of creating a business,” from the design and operational to the legal and financial issues. The first Mama Street restaurant is expected to open in November of this year, and he hopes to have a second and third location in addition to the Kidnap Mama catering service up and running in a year’s time. Thanks to his studies at IMHI, his personal and professional experience and his creative and entrepreneurial spirit, Norman has been able to identify a valuable opportunity in the Parisian marketplace and will hopefully serve as an example to future IMHI students with a passion for creating a unique product or service in hospitality.
For more information about Mama Street or to find out how to contribute to the success of this venture, please visit Mama Street on Facebook.