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Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center

L'Oréal Dare Award, the innovation contest

The L'Oréal Dare Award is an innovation contest organized by L’Oréal and the HEC Paris students association Start’HEC, with the support of the HEC Paris - Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center. The aim of the Contest is to promote innovation and creativity among HEC students by rewarding their entrepreneurial spirit. Since the 2020 edition, L’Oréal wants to stress the importance of sustainable ideas for the future. The Contest was made of two challenges. Discover here the awarded projects.

L'Oreal Dare Award 2021 winners

The 6th edition of the L'Oréal Dare Award took place on November 24 on the HEC campus. It was an opportunity for the students to come and present their business or associative project and raise their first funds.

The Contest was made of two challenges: 

  • The PITCH CHALLENGE that aims to support students with an Innovating & Socially Responsible start-up idea, allowing them to develop their project - 5 finalists, 3 prizes. 
  • The STUDENT SOCIETY CHALLENGE, which purpose is to support student societies on the HEC campus in order to conduct an Innovating & Socially Responsible-driven project - 5 finalists, 3 winners. 

 41 start-uppers applied for the Pitch Challenge. 10 student societies applied for the Student Society Challenge.



L’Oréal examined the documents received for the Pitch Challenge with the help of the Incubateur HEC Paris experts and Professor Gachoucha Kretz, in order to select 5 finalists. During the closing Ceremony, the Jury ranked each project and selected 3 winners according to following criteria: 

  • Sustainability of the project in the long term  
  • Innovation of the project proposed 
  • Feasibility of the project 
  • Creativity in the document presented 

Congratulations to:

  • SmartBack, Ariane Varale, first prize, 2 000€ 
  • Kommunity, Paul Chalabreysse, second prize, 1 500€ 
  • Ichy, Shoki Saga, third prize, 1 000€ 

Smartback is a solution of sustainable management for e-commerce returns. It joined the "Fall Batch" of the incubateur HEC Paris last October. Discover here the ambitious project of the two young students Olympe Chabert and Ariane Varale.


    The 3 winning projects were also offered the possibility to have a L’Oréal mentor to help them develop their idea / project.

    • Camille KROELY, Global Head of Digital Services & Open Innovation  
    • Elodie BERNADI, Directrice RSE et Développement Durable – L'Oréal France  
    • Marc CHARBEL, Head of Digital Innovation Lab 


    To participate, students were asked to send their videos to the HEC association Start’HEC to be uploaded on the Start’HEC Youtube Channel. The five projects with the most views were invited to participate in the final round of the Student Society Challenge.


    The students attending the closing Ceremony could vote live for their favorite Student Society according to the following criteria: 

    • Sustainability 
    • Creativity 
    • Innovativeness. 


    Congratulations to: 

    • Avenir Vietnam, first prize: 2 000€ 
    • Des Piliers Pour Avancer, second prize: 1 500€ 
    • Solidarity Race, third prize: 1 000€ 


    Thank you to the Jury's members Dare Award Ceremony 2021


    • Elodie BERNADI, Directrice RSE et Développement Durable – L'Oréal France  
    • Gouzelle Ishmatova, Chief Strategy Officer BOLD Corporate Venture Fund  
    • Sarah FRANKLIN-BECK, Talent Acquisition Director for CPD – L’Oréal France
    • Stefanie MESSNER, Talent Acquisition Director – L’Oréal France 

    HEC Paris:           

    • Inge KERKLOH-DEVIF, Senior Executive Director HEC Paris Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center 
    • Margot BOULET-MAUREL, Directrice Exécutive X-HEC Entrepreneurs 
    • François COLLIN, Chief Sustainability Officer 
    • Xavier BOUTE, Professeur et Associate Dean Student Life 
    • Raphaëlle Gautier, Executive Director - Corporate & Public Partnerships 




    Learn more about the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center