Meet the Ambassadors: Laurence Bricteux, France

Publication date: September 17, 2014

Over 70 EU Code Week Ambassadors from 34 countries are helping us spread the word about #codeEU throughout Europe. Who are they and why did they get involved in Code Week? We’ll be running a series of interviews and get to know them better. Our previous interviewee, Kostas Karpouzis from Greece, interviewed Laurence Bricteux from France.




Laurence, who are you?

A Belgian living in Marseilles, geek, Apple fan (due to 10 years embedded in London, Cupertino and Paris launching their new products), proud and lucky mummy of charming Lily-Rose. Happy representative of Girls in Tech in Marseilles, founder of Atelier-Goûter du Code, startup coach with Startup Weekend and Kedge Business School, crowdfunding advisor, and lecturer in digital strategy.

How does your country deal with this idea of code learning?

French politics has not moved about this topic for years, and suddenly, due to the impulse of the Secretaries of State in charge of digital Fleur Pellerin and Axelle Lemaire, this is « the » new trending topic. Six months ago, when I was talking about coding gouters with friends, they were thinking I was teaching them so young how to drive a car…

We should now see code for children supported at school within the next few months. On private scale, there are a lot of great initiatives, from excellent schools like Epitech or Ecole 42 to private initiatives like Simplon (Frédéric Barbeau will brief you more on his great projects), Girls in Tech teaching code to women, or Le Wagon (to name a few).

I’m therefore extremely motivated with Code Week, to show how interesting code can be for children, but also for adults looking for a life change (I’m partnering with Pole Emploi in Code Week, which is the equivalent of English job centres, helping unemployed people to find a new job). And with the support of high-level quality schools like Epitech, we will have the opportunity to promote code and have more women and adults interested.

As Alja was mentioning, the money is still the key factor, and difficult to raise to be able to open classes, buy computers and cover the cost of these trainings. But I’m knocking at a lot of doors and will launch a crowdfunding campaign early 2015 to finalise my project.

Why are you involved as an EU Code Week ambassador? What do you expect from it?

I’m very proud to be the Ambassador for my region. As I was mentioning earlier in the interview, Marseilles is the second most important city just after Paris in terms of size, but still one of the poorest, and the needs are huge to support children to learn a job for the future, with the level of unemployment here extremely high. On the other hand, life here is amazing, the city is changing on a daily basis, with new buildings, infrastructures, schools, emblematic architectural wonders like the MUCEM or the Villa Mediterranée, surrounded by the sea and the sun. You can feel how the ecosystem is buoyant, and the place to be for me to launch something new and creative!

I am counting on Code Week to help Marseilles children and adults to better apprehend code, why they should be interested in what it can offer, and have more students (and girls please !) choose this option at high school.

Do you have a hero or someone that inspires you (can be a hacker or not)?

My inspiration is still Steve Jobs for his vision and his details obsessed products and programs. You don’t forget that after 10 years spent @ Apple, and it gave me the taste of well-developed operations, perfectly planned events, and technology made accessible and understandable, in a fashionable way.