Published: Nov. 16, 2023 By

Joe Constancia and his classmates enjoying a meal together in south France.

Joe Constancia and his classmates enjoying a meal together in South France.

Are your classes missing a certain Mediterranean flair? That’s what I thought around this time last year when I decided that I was going to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. My name is Joe Constancia and I am a senior at the Leeds School of Business studying management and entrepreneurship. Last summer, I knew I wanted to go somewhere with amazing food, access to the beach and a class I would be interested in, and New Venture Creation did just that. Aix-en-Provence is just north of Marseille, but make no mistake, you are in the Mediterranean. The weather is warm, and life is taken at a relaxed pace. It is the epitome of slow living. The adventures you will have on this journey will be with you for years to come.

Joining the Global Seminar: New Venture Creation & Internship in the heart of Europe was the best decision I’ve made at Leeds. The French way of slow living is a different pace than we are used to here in the United States, but time flies when you’re having fun!

 New Venture Creation & Internship trip.What is New Venture Creation & Internship (Aix-en-Provence, France)

The global seminar is an 8-week program consisting of New Venture Creation & Internship (ESBM 4830) taught by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship Faculty Director Brad Werner. This class will test your business skills in every way imaginable. It is the real deal! During the course, every student pitches a business idea and your classmates choose the top four ventures that became the focus of the class. Once the ventures are decided, Brad creates teams to support them. This is where the work really begins. For the remainder of the program, you and your team are immersed in the ideation, validation and projection exercises that transform the idea into a startup.

While there is plenty of work, you still get to explore France. The best moments from the program came from our expeditions and guest speakers. Our trip to Saint-Tropez was a highlight of the trip. We spent the day perusing the spectrum of designer boutiques such as Gucci, Valentino, Channel and many others. Even if fashion isn’t your thing, the marina was full of sailboats and yachts just off-shore. My team and I got to explore the markets where we snatched up hard-to-find vinyl and art before hitting the beach and soaking up some sun.  My favorite day was our trip through the Rhône Valley, exploring the wine industry and trying wine in one of the most historic wine regions in the world. We had a great tour through an upstart vineyard, where we learned about different grapes and other products they were producing like honey and some of the most amazing olive oil I’ve ever had. I loved it because we walked through the property and helped tie the vines together all in the gorgeous French countryside. It was a movie-quality backdrop and a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life. 

Joe Constancia and his classmates enjoying a French cooking class.When we weren’t exploring the south of France, we were introduced to European and American entrepreneurs. These guests were nothing short of world-class, prime examples of why validating your idea is so important. Entrepreneurs ranged from distillers of American bourbon made for the French palate, to a former fashion buyer who created a sustainable leather made from grape skins. They all emphasized how many potential customers they interviewed and why it was important to be adaptable for your business to succeed. One entrepreneur conducted over 3,000 taste tests before settling on her final product. Never before have I been introduced to this caliber of entrepreneur in my time at Leeds whose stories directly correlated with what we were being taught in class. These interactions were one of a kind and offered a glimpse into the challenges faced by entrepreneurs on a global scale.

In addition to class time and tours, everyone experiences a unique internship with New Venture Creation. I was lucky to work for a startup called Timao. Timao is a consulting firm that introduces private industry organizations to the lucrative world of French public works projects. France spends more money on their public infrastructure than any country in Europe. Timao specializes in aligning companies and their resources to obtain valuable government contracts. A 216 billion Euro per year market. My classmate Will and I learned to analyzed and visualized data that our supervisor used to attract clients. Will's Excel skills broke down huge amounts of data into manageable information while I created dynamic dashboard that showed the market potential, potential competition and a heatmap that revealed underserved cities and cities that had large amounts of competition. It was an amazing experience utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to create solutions to our problems. I am so proud of the work we accomplished for Timao!

Start Your Journey

Are you interested in expanding your horizons this summer? Reach out to Brad ( or attend his office hours at Alpine Modern Café on Wednesdays from 1 pm to 2:30 pm until the end of the fall 2023 semester. Brad loves meeting and hearing from anyone interested! He will tell you everything you need to know to prepare for the class and trip. You can also reach out to me at with any questions or to learn more.  

Global Seminar: New Venture Creation & Internship exceeded my expectations and has made me a savvier entrepreneur. If you are seeking an adventure that goes beyond the ordinary, one that will not only shape your business mind but create lasting memories and connections, then look no further. This program is a catalyst for personal and professional growth and a journey that will resonate throughout your college experience and beyond.

Space in Global Seminar: New Venture Creation & Internship is limited. Apply by December 1st, 2023, to start your journey and expand your horizons.

Learn More About New Venture Creation & Internship!


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