Thanks to “business games”, entrepreneurs can train online before launching

By donning an entrepreneurial costume for a game, future entrepreneurs can, thanks to these games, immerse themselves in a sector of activity and perfect their future strategy. LUCIEN LUNG/Le Figaro

For several years, simulation games have multiplied in business schools and companies. Whether they allow a budding entrepreneur to test his strategy without risking bankruptcy or a company to test its recruits, these virtual worlds are a real success.

“Failure is the mother of success.” Many entrepreneurs have made this Chinese proverb their mantra. Yet failure is less painful when it occurs in a simulation game than in the real world. And that’s the whole point of “business games”, which have been rampant in business schools and companies for several years. Winning a contract against imaginary competitors, correcting the situation of a subsidiary on the verge of bankruptcy… On a smartphone or a computer, budding entrepreneurs in these strategy games have found a valuable tool to learn from their mistakes before creating their business.

Signs of this success, companies use it to test their potential recruits or train their employees. A pioneer in this field with its “Brandstorm” game in 1992, the L’Oréal group launched a business game in 2010 that allows the player to discover the different jobs in the company before applying. In 2015, the Orange operator also embraced the trend with the “quiz Cube”, a game to familiarize its employees with its strategic “Essentials 2020” plan.

In the shoes of a business manager

Strathena, the game offered this summer by BFM Business, has been added to this list. Conceived by the former CEO of Essilor, Xavier Fontanet, and developed by Interactive 4D, a company specializing in business games, this competition repeats the strategy courses given by the latter on the air of the channel’s financial information since the beginning of the year.

The principle? The player takes on the role of chairman of the board of a bakery chain and then of a car manufacturer. Faced with his competitors or an artificial intelligence, he is free to make the appropriate decisions to make his business flourish. “The player starts in one region and then has to win market share throughout France. He can choose where to set up his factories, issue shares, invest in research…”, explains Xavier Fontanet, who remembers that “these are the choices that make a company successful or fail”.

A pedagogical vocation

The idea for this game sprouted a few months ago from this former business executive who was fascinated by the strategic genius of video game enthusiasts. The starting point for this project? The passion devoted to pedagogy by those who regularly speak at HEC during conferences and courses. But above all “lack of understanding of the business world”, which, according to him, the French would suffer from. “A lot of people don’t understand what profit is or how globalization works,” says Xavier Fontanet. An educational ambition that convinced BFM Business, whose decryption of financial mechanisms is one of the editorial axes. “We received a lot of questions from viewers wanting advice on their business strategy. The idea of ​​the game is therefore to help them, regardless of whether they are entrepreneurs or aspire to be one, to avoid the pitfalls that could come their way,” explains journalist Frédéric Simotel, who plays the role of the student during Xavier’s chronicle. The fountain. It must be said that in this competition the channel found the opportunity to attract players to its business strategy programs broadcast in replay on the game page and to develop the audience for its new programs at the start of the school year.

The players whose business will be the most successful at the end of the summer will be invited in September to reveal the keys to this virtual success on the set of the channel. The future of the simulator seems to be mapped out: recruitment companies have already approached Xavier Fontanet to adapt it to their activity.

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