Hectar, founded by the French tech mogul Xavier Niel and Audrey Bourolleau, a former advisor to French President Emanuel Macron, îs an ambitious attempt to reinvent the agricultural way of life in order to make it appealing for a new generation of farmers, with a big focus on technology. Sustainability, both environmental and economic, is its core value.
Situated in an old farm in the outskirts of Paris, the campus is a mixture of university, business incubator and tech startup, frequently bubbling with activity. It has a model farm where business models are tested, with the permanent concern of developing a way of life in which farmers are entitled to a regular and predictable work day, weekends off and yearly vacations.
Around the year, international groups of entrepreneurs bring they business ideas to develop them into solid business models, during bootcamps that attract investors, mentors and fellow entrepreneurs. There are many who come from farming families, trying to keep their family heritages alive without compromising their environmental values and aspirations for quality of life. Others are newcomers to the countryside, often leaving behind solid corporate careers in search of a new, more fulfilling way to live their lives. Uniting them is a desire to devise a new way to thing the farm and what it means to be a farmer.