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Challenge description

Our challenge aims at finding a solution to foster entrepreneurial mindsets, innovation and business creation among a target facing the greatest difficulties in finding employment, with priority being given to:

  • young people, graduates or not, with or without training, but without employment
  • long-term job seekers
  • job seekers in rural areas

The mentioned target is at risk of becoming socially excluded – individuals with income below the poverty-line and lacking the skills, or sometimes only the grit or sense of entitlement, to act on improving their economic situation by creating their own job opportunities.

Even more specifically through this challenge we aim at tackling the problems that the rural youth is facing that could suffer from additional set of barriers which are linked to their spatial isolation and to the impression of a more narrow range of opportunities available to them.

Target community and Location

The challenge is located in the region of Toulon (Var department), an average size city circa 600.000. In the area of Toulon, unemployment rates are quite high (close to 11% of unemployment, which is slightly above the average rates in France).

Toulon concentrates more than half of the inhabitants of the Var department. However, in the Var, 38% of the territory is considered to be rural, but only 5% of the population lives in these areas, creating large empty rural areas where employment opportunities are very scarce.

The target group is young people facing the greatest difficulties in finding employment located in urban and rural areas of Toulon and the Var. There are 89.900 job seekers in the Var, of which 20.180 have been seeking a job for over two years and 11.000 are under 25 years old. Our challenge will focus on the two later categories.

To implement this scheme and stimulus package, TVT wishes to draw on methods and tools already in the course of experimentation with start-up creators and students. Indeed, TVT Innovation has a long history of collaboration with local entrepreneurs and Universities through events (community meet-ups, cocreation program, organization of conferences, hackathons, startup week-ends), dedicated support programs (acceleration programs, training camps, etc.) and hosting services (coworking space and business Incubators).


TVT (Toulon Var Technologies) is a non-profit organization, created in 1988 by public and private stakeholders, dedicated to fostering innovation and the economic development in the area of Toulon and the Var (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region).

TVT Innovation manages a Business Innovation Center, helping innovative entrepreneurship and supporting the local ecosystem with dedicated programs and support actions to key economic sectors. Our activities include workspaces (coworking space and 2 Business Incubators) for innovative activities and new technologies, a dedicated Business Support Service (Accelerator Program, Training Camp) to help innovative SMEs and projects holders create an efficient business roadmap (including coaching, financial support, expert consultancy) and a Business Angel Network.

In the recent years, several tools have been experimented to serve this purpose, dedicated “Etudiants-Entrepreneurs” (student entrepreneurs) that include namely :

  • Raising awareness on business creation and innovative entrepreneurship among university students and schools through masterclasses,
  • organization of events : community meet-ups, barcamps, hackathons, startup weekends, cocreation programs between big corporations and students, etc.
  • Several hands-on training programs : Training Camp and Accelerateur for project holders, another called “Les Entepreneuriales” targeting students in which pluridisciplinary teams follow a training program for the creation of a start-up of their choice.

TVT Innovation comprises 15 team members (including administrative staff) that support entrepreneurs on a daily basis. Four team members would be especially involved in this specific challenge and act as champions for its realization:

  • 1 person in charge of the program “Les Entepreneuriales”
  • 1 person in charge of La Cantine (organization of events and link with student life)
  • 1 person in charge of communication, promotion and community management,
  • 1 person in charge of the the Training Camp and Accelerator program, as well as all business support services that provide advice and guidance to project holders.


The programs implemented until now have been successful, but reach mainly people located in the close surroundings of Toulon. More efforts are needed to reach out to underprivileged communities and to people located in remote areas of the Var (especially in rural areas of Toulon’s hinterland)

By using methods dedicated to student entrepreneurship, help us develop the best tools, stimulus and plans to disseminate the spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and business creation among the people facing the greatest difficulties in finding employment. 


To support the implementation of the solution to this challenge, our organization could provide the following resources :

  • Information,   data   and   expertise   on   the   issue: feedback and lessons learned working with student-entrepreneurs ;
  • Close cooperation and contacts with the target audience: organization of focus-groups with students (for a user-centric / design-thinking approach), implementation of a living lab methodology ;
  • Pro-bono   consultancy   /   coaching   of   the   selected  solution providers though our support programs for project holders and start-up creators
  • Hosting in our coworking space

The Challenge Owner

Toulon Var Technologies