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Interview with Fatou Ndiaye, KEDGE graduate and founder of the start-up “The Great Village”

Created in 2018, The Great Village is a start-up whose mission is to rethink the collective notion in order to set into motion projects that have a strong social and environmental impact.


1️⃣  To begin, tell us about your educational background. What did you study, both before and at KEDGE? 

I got a DUT in Marketing Techniques, International Business option, at IUT de Sceaux, then sat the Ecricome exam and was accepted into KEDGE, Bordeaux. I chose subjects that would keep me on an international business path. I also did a work-study as a Project Manager at Thales during my 2nd and 3rd years, before going to Jakarta on a university exchange.



2️⃣  Tell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions?

Once I had my degree in my pocket, I bought a one-way ticket to Singapore. I found a job after three months working in a pharmaceutical company as an events manager. Six months later, I was promoted to the job of my dreams: Business Development Manager. For three years I travelled around the world for the company and managed client accounts in Iran, South Africa, Thailand, and New Zealand. That international experience taught me that, with hard work and perseverance, your wildest dreams can come true. After three years, I resigned because I wanted to try something new.

I went on a three-month tour of South America. There I learned to speak Spanish, discovered diverse and enriching cultures, and made life-long friends. Then I returned to Singapore and started my first business there, “Little Pixie Box”. The Little Pixie Box specialises in children's birthday parties with an innovative concept - the "birthday in a box". Parents choose a theme and the number of children, and receive a box that contains everything they need for a party, such as decorations, table mats, costumes, etc. Little Pixie Box has been growing fast for a year now.

After an incident, I suddenly had to leave the area. I decided to move to Sydney on a whim. What was supposed to last only a few months became a four-year adventure "down under".  I was hired as an export consultant in a small firm before I was headhunted by KPMG as National Head of International Trade. I was in charge of developing that new department. I transformed the firm by creating a digital platform to deliver our services to Australian SMEs who wanted to export. I’ve also been designated as an Expert (on a voluntary basis) by the United Nations Department of International Trade to collaborate on making recommendations that facilitate trade for SMEs. 

A six-figure salary, an apartment in centre of the city overlooking Harbour Bridge, a circle of friends I could count on - I had it all! But I was missing something. My “raison d'être” and values weren’t aligned with my work. One morning, I realised that I had the power to create the company and world that I dreamed of. A company where people would be at the centre, where money wouldn’t be the key to success, and where everyone could attain their dreams. I resigned the next day and launched The Great Village three weeks later.


3️⃣  What are you doing/what is your situation today? What gave you the idea and why do you want to do what you’re doing today? 

The Great Village was born from a desire to be a part of creating the world of tomorrow. To change the world, you have to first change yourself and attain personal fulfilment. We all have a talent -something unique to offer the world. The Great Village is an international community that aims to make the most daring dreams come true by turning its members into the entrepreneurs who will impact tomorrow.

  • It's a community of “Greaters” who dream. It's a community that dares. It’s a community that thrives together. The community: 
  • Is based entirely on the barter system. The skills, expertise, and tools that one can bring are worth much more than money;
  • Works for the betterment, by achieving the UN's 17 sustainable development goals;
  • In a sustainable moment, creates sparks, shares them, and disrupt and enlarges the community for increasing impact!

There are already 2000 Greaters today, tomorrow we hope there will be a million of us.

In order to meet this goal, The Great Village is developing its own platform. Its objective? To bring together dreamers who are daring, creators of change, and business leaders. In one click, you will be able to connect your project with the right people, who have the right skills, and at the right time. The Great Village has a disruptive business model. It is an SCIC whose members are the shareholders. Each new entrepreneur in the community donates 5% of their business and 10% of their annual revenues to The Great Village. Our company is talked about around the world. We’ve have been invited to the United Nations, Geneva, and New York, as well as to the annual Microsoft conference in Orlando FL, ChangeNow Summit in Paris, and the W.IN forum in New York.


4️⃣  What are your development plans for the future?

We are currently in the process of finalising our digital platform which so more people can share their resources to help more create more committed businesses and help them prosper. We’re also in the process of building a co-working/co-living space to accommodate Greaters. It’ll be located in Paris and will be aligned with our values and our innovative business model (market bartering and non-market resources). We’ve also launched another company within the framework of The Great Village - WingsUp, to TRANSMIT our unlimited mindset, our radically innovative methodologies, and our diverse community of change agents. We deliver innovative educational modules to business schools, and hold Bootcamps of innovation, which are inspiring and engaging immersive experiences to train tomorrow's world leaders.


5️⃣  If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be? 

DREAM: Dream big! The crazier, the better! DARE: Dare to conquer your dreams, despite your fears and limiting thoughts. THRIVE TOGETHER: Your network and community will be your best allies. Lean on them and celebrate your victories together. 

Without KEDGE, I wouldn't have discovered my entrepreneurial spirit so early. Because I participated in the school’s associative world, I developed courage and ingenuity, as well as my network. Today I’m on the Supervisory Board of Time for the Planet, a revolutionary start-up created by an alumnus Laurent Morel (ESC 2009). I’m also an Ambassador of Circle, an ethical and circular sportswear brand created by Alexandre Auroux (ESC 2009).


6️⃣  Anything you’d like to add? A message to pass on?

It takes an entire village to raise a child. It takes a village to create the world of tomorrow. Join us and become an actor of change!



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