M2 student and a friend of animals, Simon pitched to the 2016 YESS Académie to present his project of ready meals for cats and dogs: Anicali!


After a Bachelor's degree in commercial development in Orléans, Simon joined Montpellier BS via the Passerelle 2 entrance examination. This year, he is doing the Master 2 work experience at the Lidl head office in Strasbourg as apprentice project manager. But what’s more, he is an entrepreneur! Friend of animals, Simon participated in the YESS Académie, a project kick-starter organised by the REALIS division of the Occitan Region, to present "Anicali", his idea for prepared meals for cats and dogs! And even though he did not reach the final, he was selected as one of the 30 best projects out of 80 applicants! A good omen for things to come.

"One year ago, I had the idea for Anicali by making a detailed observation of my dog's dry food and by getting information from veterinarians," starts Simon. "Did you know that the majority of dry food on sale in the market contains at least 40% cereals, instead of the recommended 5%? A dog especially needs meat, and in large quantities! At least 75%... And that is not at all what is offered by the brands on the market, even if we find acceptable compositions in the top range. And you also need to know how to sort among all the products available in the aisle...With Anicali, I want to offer a simple, healthy alternative prepared with 100% natural products that are perfectly adapted to the animal's needs. At the moment I am working on recipes with my partner Arthur and with the help of veterinarians".

To make his idea known and to exchange information with other project sponsors, Simon then gave the YESS Académie a try upon the advice of his entrepreneurship lecturer at Montpellier BS, Dr Walid Nakara. From among 80 applicants in total, he was chosen to be part of the 30 competitors to be able to pitch before a team of experts in Paris! A wonderful opportunity. "When you have the honour and the opportunity to be selected to defend your idea, you have to give everything! For two days, we were in complete entrepreneurial immersion and completely focused on our various projects. With the team that accompanied me throughout the entire competition and with the monitoring of the coaches, I was able to shape the company's business model and the following day, we delivered the qualitative pitch to compete for our place in the final: 2 minutes to convince and prove the commitment of the project for Social and Solidary Economy," comments Simon. "Unfortunately, Anicali was not based enough on social innovation, so we were not selected to continue. But I received a lot of positive recommendations and I was able to gather precious advice! So I certainly come away from this experience a winner".

Today, Simon even confides in us that he needed to go through the YESS to go further in his involvement as a player in the local economy. "I met opponents who became potential partners! Some of them have even guided me in the development of my project, and I now know how to advance Anicali. I specifically plan on using fresh products from local producers, and why not "ugly vegetables"! The preparation of meals may take place through an establishment that provides work aid (ESAT). I also wish to strengthen the social link by firstly offering the sale of products via meetings".

The YESS Académie was thus only the start of the adventure for Simon! Today he is more motivated than ever to continue with the development of his project. "The objective is to finalise an initial recipe by next June. Thus, we could start to create the website and its integrated tool which will allow cat and dog owners to know which product best suits their animal, depending on its weight, size, physical activity and age".

In the meantime, you can already visit the Anicali website and the Facebook page!