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Meriadec Raffray Meriadec Raffray
Journalist for 20 years, M&eac...
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Military entrepreneur: a trust seal and a pool of expertise

Charts analysis during a business meeting DR

Jacques Hogard is the president of the French Military Entrepreneurs Association (AME-France), inaugurated by its twelve founding members this past May. He worked as a parachute officer in the French Foreign Legion and in the special operation forces before entering the business world. In 2004, he founded EPEE, or Experts partenaires pour l'entreprise à l'étranger, a company that pioneered the concept of “business diplomacy” in France. Interview by Meriadec Raffray 

What is the purpose of AME-France ?

This new business network aims to advance the “military entrepreneurs” in the business world. Regardless of their unit and rank, business people with a military background can and should reclaim the distinctive skills they developed and that shaped them throughout their first path: their appetite for risk, their resilience, their ethical behaviour. These values and skills have a strong identification and differentiation power, and we believe they are a valuable proof of credibility and trust. This concept has long existed in English-speaking countries, and is now being introduced in France for the first time thanks to the tremendous work done by AME-France’s twelve founding members, to whom I particularly grateful. AME-France provides a foothold to military entrepreneurs, as well as an invaluable trust seal to the business world.

AME-France also includes a mutual assistance component…

That is correct, and it’s a double component. From the outside, our label is the guarantee of our commitment to patriotism and solidarity. Members support mutual assistance-based charitable organizations for injured members of the armed forces and the families of soldiers who died for their country. Internally, it’s a matter of mutual support in business. There are carpenters, bakers, finance or event consultants, industrial risks specialists, shipowners or even machine components manufacturers: our network relies on the diversity of the people it brings together. They bring in and exchange business opportunities. The most qualified and seasoned ones help train the newcomers.

Strength lies in unity…

People in the military know this better than anyone else, since they experienced it first-hand. The individual is useless without the group. Within AME-France, we can identify and know ourselves better by unifying our efforts. In the long run, we will be able to gradually form solid and trustworthy groups to bid for and win complex tenders.

Including abroad?

The network has officially existed since May 29, and it's already establishing itself in Africa and the Middle East. Going overseas is part of our DNA. Many of us have been deployed on far away missions, in open crisis environments where it is hard to distinguish between friends and enemies, where one power relations count… and the bonds of trust we created throughout encounters, including those with belligerent parts. I have myself founded my company in order to walk large corporations and SMEs through markets in which pitfalls are sometimes lethal.

In practical terms, who can join AME-France?

The first circle gathers military entrepreneurs, those formerly on active service or on operational reserve. However, the organization is also open to all those who share and identify with our values: business leaders, executives from the private and public spheres, actors from the voluntary sector. They form the second circle. Several actors from the realms of security, business, and politics support our initiative.

08/01/2018 -   Any reproduction, copy, transmission or translation of this publication is prohibited.

Portrait of Jacques Hogard Meriadec Raffray