The resilience of a boxer and the ambition of an Alpinist: serial entrepreneurs and learning from failure

In an interactive session of the SME club (by The French Chamber of Great Britain), two entrepreneurs, Sophie Mirman, Founder and Director of Trotters Childrenswear & Accessories, and Alexis Grabar, Founder of AviaMediaTech recounted the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of their respective entrepreneurial journeys.

This article was first published in INFO Mag, a publication from The French Chamber of Commerce. September/October 2013 issue


The concept of failure is not one with which Europeans are particularly comfortable, but all entrepreneurs have to both confront and learn from it. As serial entrepreneurs, Sophie Mirman and Alexis Grabar’s experiences of success and failure have been very different, but both agreed that entrepreneurs have to have an ability to bounce back.

The issue of failure is a cultural one, as Alexis Grabar explained. ‘For Europeans – particularly the French who come from a Grandes Ecoles background – the ‘f’ word is one we can’t even pronounce. In Japan, it’s even worse – if you fail you commit suicide. Americans have a completely different perspective – they see the need to understand failure, learn from it and recover from it. The reality is that talking about what happened and learning from failure is very important’.

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Alexis Grabar
Entrepreneurship in action: successful careers

HEC Paris supports entrepreneurship and interviewed two visionaries and HEC graduates: Eric la Bonnardière (M.06) and Alexis Grabar (MBA.02). This article was first published by HEC Paris in September 2015. [Alexis Grabar] Can you briefly describe your background? I am a Franco-American entrepreneur who has been based in London for the past 13 years. I am […]

Private jets set Avolus on growth trajectory

This article was published in the INFO Mag, a magazine produced by the French Chamber of Great Britain, in September 2011. Alexis Grabar is fascinated by what makes a company win. He not only enjoys raising money from investors but is skilled at backing winners. One such is his own company, Avolus, a leading player […]

Service culture: the key to success

Companies are nowadays more and more aware of the importance of service culture. However, they do not always have the internal skills or resources to improve or sustain it. The HEC alumni magazine met Claire Bonniol, Managing Director UK and Alexis Grabar (MBA.02), Founding Partner of Académie du Service UK, a company specialized in service […]


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