Meet Robert Tindwa, recipient of the L'Oréal Excellence Award

  • Robert Tindwa ©Elisabeth Brunet / Sciences PoRobert Tindwa ©Elisabeth Brunet / Sciences Po

Robert Tindwa started as an undergraduate on the Sciences Po Reims Campus. Today he is a Master's student and the recipient of the L'Oréal Excellence Award Africa. Read the interview.

Tell us a little about your background. What are your aspirations?

I am half Zimbabwean, half Kenyan and I grew up in Zimbabwe. Before coming to Sciences Po as an undergraduate, I got my International Baccalaureate (IB diploma) at United World College in Swaziland, a small kingdom in Southern Africa. My long-term goal is to acquire the range of expertise and soft skills I will need to grow professionally, so I can use my skills in an enlightened and responsible way in the era of increasing digitalisation, globalisation and climate change-related challenges.

You chose to apply to the Europe-Africa programme on the Reims campus. Why is that, and what did you get out of it?

I chose the Europe-Africa programme for two main reasons.

First, the academic rigour and originality of the curriculum appealed to me. Euraf was a rare opportunity to complete a bilingual degree programme and learn a third language, not to mention the compulsory year abroad. Who would refuse such a great opportunity? It was also a chance to study important (and often delicate) issues objectively and from a long-term perspective. That was very important to me.

Second, I wanted to be surrounded by the sort of people who would be interested in this kind of programme. I knew I would learn a lot outside the classroom, especially with such a diverse student body. I certainly don’t regret my choice. I learned so much over the last two years, from the importance of teamwork to the need to develop and nurture your critical thinking skills. The experience also broadened my horizons and helped me get to know myself better. More importantly, I made some very good friends over the two years and I am proud to have been part of this exceptional, unique programme.

You have a scholarship from the L’Oréal Group for the duration of your Master’s programme. How will this help you with your studies? What relationship do you have with your sponsor?

I will be eternally grateful to L’Oréal for awarding me this scholarship. In terms of my studies, it has helped me gain perspective and given me a lot of prospects. I am currently doing a Master’s in Economics & Business at the School of Management and Innovation. The programme questions the role of business in today’s connected world. It is a great help for me to have the support of L’Oréal’s leaders, who truly embody the company’s values and vision. I believe that that kind of support and personal commitment play a key role in training tomorrow’s leaders.

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Alumna Nora Poggi on her award-winning documentary on women leading an entrepreneurial revolution

  • Sciences Po alumna Nora PoggiSciences Po alumna Nora Poggi

Nora Poggi is a Sciences Po Master of Communications and the Director-Producer of the award-winning documentary film, "She Started It" on women tech entrepreneurs. The film was named one of "5 Must-Watch Movies for Entrepreneurs in 2017" by Inc Magazine and was shown at over 300 events, at Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University, Stanford University, The World Bank, Disney, Google, Apple, Microsoft, as well as numerous film festivals, conferences and high schools. Shot in Silicon Valley, New York, Vietnam, Europe and elsewhere, the film follows five young women on their road to start-up success. Nora Poggi will be at Sciences Po for a projection of the film on 3, April 2018.

After the success of the documentary in the US, Nora and her team are launching the film in France. Interview with the Director-Producer.

Sciences Po: What led you to make a documentary on women entrepreneurs? 

Nora Poggi: My co-producer Insiyah Saeed and I started this documentary, called She Started It, in Spring 2013. I was covering the tech industry as a journalist and noticed the lack of women. One day I attended a conference by Women 2.0 and discovered top women entrepreneurs who I had never heard of. I thought, how come their stories are not all over the news? Today, women account for only 9% of founders of high-growth firms, and 96% of venture-capitalists in the United States are men, controlling the majority of the money. We decided to tell the stories of women starting their own companies to showcase this entrepreneurial revolution. We followed five young women through the ups and downs of their entrepreneurial journey. We want girls who see the film to know that they can take risks, that failure is okay and that it is worth trying something you are passionate about.

Sciences Po: Sciences Po is a university that pays great attention to gender studies. Would you say that your studies at Sciences Po were what sparked your interest in women’s entrepreneurship? 

Nora Poggi: At Sciences Po I majored in Communication, and my studies at the School of Management and Innovation were a great springboard into creative and media work. It was mostly my discovery of women business founders in San Francisco that sparked my interest in women’s entrepreneurship, but I have always been particularly focused on gender equality issues, including during my Sciences Po years, where incredible teachers gave me the tools to lead me where I am today.

Sciences Po: When Sheryl Sandberg gave a lecture at Sciences Po in 2014, she said that women “suffer from the tyranny of low expectations.” You interviewed many female tech entrepreneurs when making your documentary and you got to know them well. From your perspective, what was the most common obstacle that these women had to overcome to make their projects successful? 

Nora Poggi: Studies show that girls give up on maths and science when they get a bad grade in school, but boys don't. Research also shows that fear of failure hits girls the hardest, which prevents them from going after their dreams. The women we interviewed all had one thing in common: they believed in themselves enough to overcome these doubts, that little voice which asks "Am I good enough?"

They learned how to build their self-confidence, and their family, friends or mentors were instrumental in supporting them. It is crucial for any entrepreneur to develop a support system and a network. Anyone can start within their local community or outside their ecosystem by reaching out to like-minded individuals and by looking for people willing to support them on their journey. That being said, it is imperative that we as a society change and fight against the structural barriers that prevent women and girls from following their ambitions. There is a lack of capital, ressources, role models, mentors, and support specifically for women and diverse founders (founders of color, LGBTQ, founders with disabilities, and more). We have to diversify the entire ecosystem and the venture-capital risk community, and also fight against cultural norms and media that show us a very narrow perspective on entrepreneurship. That is the part I am tackling with "She Started It.

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Yoga in education: tips on stress management

  • Students closing their eyes ©Sciences Po/RYEStudents closing their eyes ©Sciences Po/RYE

Sophie Flak, President of RYE France (Research on Yoga in Education) and lecturer at Sciences Po, has incorporated yoga breaks into her communication classes. In this video, she gives students tips to manage and help reduce stress, recenter focus, and aid concentration - tools that can be applied in academia as well as in the professional or personal realms.

Sciences Po's Health Centre offers an innovative range of personal development tools and wellness workshops focused on stress management, mindfulness, meditation and creativity.

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The Great Transition 2017/2018 - Final Jury

  • The Great Transition 2017/2018 - Final JuryThe Great Transition 2017/2018 - Final Jury

Presentation of 12 selected Group Projects developed in the context of the Great Transition course and identified as particularly promising.

The projects will be presented to a special jury of seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and professionals:

The Jury will vote for the three “Projects of the Jury”. And you will also all get to vote for the three “Projects of the Public”. The winning projects will get a chance to be showcased in a special issue of l’Express on “Les Solutions pour Changer le Monde” and we will ensure further coaching and development.


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