Montpellier BS hosted the 1st international research seminar on the health of entrepreneurs!


On September 29 and 30, Montpellier BS hosted the 1st international seminar on the "Health of Small Business Owners/Entrepreneurs". Organised by Dr. Olivier Torrès, Associate Lecturer, and Dr. Roy Thurik, an entrepreneurship lecturer, this first international workshop dedicated to the health of business leaders brought together 35 researchers from 12 nations and 5 different continents! The founder of the Amarok Observatory, Dr. Olivier Torrès answered our questions.

What gave you the desire to set up this 1st international seminar on the "Health of Small Business Owners/Entrepreneurs"?

The origin was the work that I have been doing for 7 years on the health of entrepreneurs. Until then, people were very interested in the health of employees but very few in that of bosses. So I created the Amarok Observatory and our work is now beginning to resonate around the world. The challenge is to promote this new research movement, "Health Entrepreneurship". This 1st international seminar on the subject has experienced high points and had prestigious participants. We were especially proud to receive Professor Katsuyuki Kamei who is responsible for the Observatory Amarok in Japan where he has raised 20 million yen (185,000 euros) to fund research. He is a lecturer in risk management at the University of Kensai. This is a great recognition for me and it shows that Montpellier BS and our work radiate throughout the world. This seminar was marked by several speeches by US international researchers (including Dr. Michael Freeman, head of psychiatry at San Francisco Medical University), but also Lebanese and Dutch speakers, whereas this subject wasn’t researched at all only 7 years ago.

In the end, what are the conclusions of such a seminar and your work in general?

The idea was to promote and of course to share our knowledge worldwide. There was a blind spot on this because entrepreneurs never talk about their health problems; until then it was a taboo. They are under a leadership ideology. When you see yourself as a leader, you cannot express any weakness. In contrast, until now, specialists in suffering at work have only been interested in employees. So, for years, we have tried to get closer to these deaf specialists and dumb bosses!! Since 2009, this has been my fight and I am sure that eventually, Amarok will become a public interest association. Doing this is good for health but there are very high highs and very low lows. This workshop was the theorisation of all that, the construction of generalisations supported by empirical evidence to change the view that you have of entrepreneurs who are neither superhumans nor subhumans, but above all human beings with their strengths and weaknesses. After this seminar, I hope we can create a first sustainable network of researchers to continue exchanges and intensify research on this new, unknown and yet so important field. And I really hope to replicate this seminar next year, still at Montpellier BS, a grande école that trains, supports and is interested in entrepreneurs!