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How I Launched An International Sustainable Transport Business After My Master’s In France

Learn how Ugo Annicchiarico elevated his entrepreneurial skills and developed his network during a specialist master’s which helped him launch his own company


Fri Apr 26 2024

Early in his career, Ugo Annicchiarico realized his desire was to do meaningful work that could enact positive societal change but would also make an impact at a corporate level.

This realization led him on a journey to developing his own company based on sustainable mobility solutions. 

His path to success saw him enroll in the MSc in Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship at emlyon business school. 

To find out how his degree helped guide his career path, BusinessBecause spoke to Ugo about the specialist skills he developed, how he built a global network, and how his studies culminated in the launch of StarBolt, a global venture dedicated to sustainable transportation.

Choosing a business school to elevate entrepreneurial skills 

Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Ugo completed his bachelor’s degree in economics, which he followed with a master’s degree in international business. 

Throughout his academic career, Ugo was interested in understanding the professional environment. This led him to explore numerous internships. It was through these experiences that Ugo realized the kind of business he wanted to work in or potentially launch himself. 

“I wanted both. Something that was oriented towards impact and an overall mission that would benefit society. And something where I would see my actions being deployed and applied to the corporate world,” he says.   

Inspired by this goal, he decided to enroll at business school and looked for a program that would provide him with a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation while offering opportunities to expand his network globally.

“The best way to get ideas is to see what's happening in different countries,” he says. “I was looking for a way to better understand entrepreneurship and travel to elevate my global understanding.”

He felt emlyon's program offered the perfect blend of theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and global exposure, so in 2016 he took the plunge and applied to the program. 

Developing entrepreneurial skills during the program

During his time at emlyon, Ugo honed skills which are crucial for entrepreneurship, including adaptability, curiosity, and networking. 

He was particularly able to strengthen these areas during the cultural immersions that are central to the program. Ugo’s cohort spent six months in China and New York after completing the first six months in Lyon. 

To expand its network and diversify students' experience, emlyon changes the destinations where the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship program is taught—the current cohort of students are studying across France, Finland, and Vietnam. 

During his international experiences, Ugo embraced cultural diversity, navigated challenges in new environments, and cultivated a curiosity that allowed him to actively explore opportunities. 

“You have to be curious, in a deep and productive way,” he explains. “You have so many opportunities in a new country, and you have to be brave. You need to go outside to talk to people and organize meetings.”

The program's hands-on approach, including group projects and consulting engagements with local companies, allowed him to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios. 

This approach was highly beneficial for Ugo. While studying in China, alongside his cofounder—who was in his cohort at emlyon—they met their first business partner during a guest lecture. 

“We met him because he did a presentation for the program, after which we organized a series of meetings, and he became our business partner.”

Launching Starbolt

The global structure of the emlyon MSc—spanning France, China, and the US—provided Ugo with invaluable experiences which helped him launch his vision. 

In China, he witnessed the contrasting forces of environmental challenges and innovative solutions, which helped him evolve his entrepreneurial vision. 

“You see all this pollution from the factories and across the country. But on the other hand, they are the first investors in the clean tech industry and have the biggest number of electric cars in the world.”

While in New York, he experienced the dynamic landscape of mass mobility services and was able to take inspiration from the merging of technology and urban transportation.

Inspired by his experiences in China and New York, Ugo, along with his co-founder, started Starbolt, a subscription based electric bikes company marketed to organizations for hiring. 

Recognizing the potential of electric vehicles and mobility services, in launching the firm they aimed to address environmental concerns while meeting evolving consumer needs. 

By combining innovations from different regions, they developed solutions tailored for the European market, targeting organizations seeking sustainable mobility options. 

Developing partnerships with industry giants like Capgemini and completing successful fundraising rounds, Starbolt quickly gained momentum, establishing itself within the sustainable vehicle space.

From incubation support at emlyon to ongoing connections through initiatives like the emlyon Entrepreneurship Club, the network has provided valuable resources and confidence for Ugo, especially in the early stages of the business.

“It definitely gave us confidence,” he explains. “When you start off, especially as recent graduate entrepreneurs, it provides confidence with companies such as banks, or clients, or any person that is involved.”

However, for Ugo, the main advantage he gained was meeting his cofounder and developing an innovative idea: “emlyon is where it all started.”

Student Reviews

emlyon business school




On Campus

Intense courses, helpful professors

I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.




On Campus

Leadership in an amazing city

I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends




On Campus

A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.

You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.




MSc in Digital Marketing

Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.




Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs

EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.




Emlyon campus in Paris

It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.




On Campus


Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.




Good Reputation and International Business School

The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.