- Etoile: Hello Michael Wiesenfeld, you head the Young Entrepreneurs and Executives Club (YEE) and you also initiated a partnership with the French American Chamber of Commerce of Florida (Florida FACC). What was the purpose behind this club?
Michael Wiesenfeld: I moved to Miami in September 2009 after having spent 10 years in NYC. What immediately struck me (besides the Floridian’ sun!) was how difficult, in comparison to NY, it was to meet other people in general, and more specifically entrepreneurs.
Obviously, Miami is not NYC for many reasons, but I really thought there would be more structures in place for young entrepreneurs & executives to meet and exchange. Over time, I came to meet several very interesting entrepreneurs, most of them expats from Europe and South America, who came across the same issues. I asked them whether they would see value in a YEE club and they unanimously embraced the concept. That’s how and why it started.
Since I was part of the FACC YEE club in NY, I naturally turned to the Florida chapter of the FACC to suggest the idea and volunteer to manage it. They were very enthusiastic about it and instrumental in implementing it, alongside Mr. Gael de Maisonneuve, Consul general of France in Miami.
Etoile: You are also the creator of a market research company, in addition to being a sports agent and representative of elite athletes. Is this knowledge in networking and management something you wish to share with the members of this club?
Michael Wiesenfeld: I don’t have the pretension to teach anything to other entrepreneurs or executive "rock stars".
I’m actually eager to learn from them! However, I’d be glad to share my experience in terms of what went well, not so well, and what I believe is critical to bring a business to life and maintain it.
That being said, I came to realize the obvious that having access to key individuals within your field drastically increases your chances of success. I also realized that your ability to connect the dots and leverage that process is what could really make the difference in the end. Entrepreneurship and business life is like a giant puzzle with pieces you do not necessarily collect within a short period of time.
You might have come across a piece of your puzzle 10 years ago without realizing it could be a part of your own puzzle until you came across another matching piece 10 years later… Your ability to connect all these pieces together, especially with those collected a while ago, is what can make the difference in being successful and leveraging an opportunity.
These puzzle pieces often are people you randomly meet in the course of your life. Hence the importance of fostering networking opportunities among like-minded individuals who, hopefully, could fullfill each other puzzles at some point!
Etoile: On April 19, along with the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, the Young Entrepreneurs and Executives Club will be officially launched. Can you tell us about this event and the other activities that you will soon be offering?
Michael Wiesenfeld: In fact, the YEE Club will meet for the first time in one of my favorite spots in Miami, Baoli!
This event will start with a 15-20 minutes speech from 2 great French entrepreneurs: Bruno Leveque (Co-Founder of Prestashop) and Julien Barbier (Founder of Eurisko).
It will be rather informal, stand-up performance, if you will, without any PPT slides. That session will be followed by drinks and appetizers allowing members to meet and exchange! The next meeting will take place mid-June. In the meantime, I’d like to organize an outing at the American Airlines Arena to see the Miami Heat during the Play-off, and possibly organize a golfing afternoon. Any suggestions are welcome!
Etoile: Could you please tell us a bit more about your background?
Michael Wiesenfeld: I moved from Paris to New York in November 2001 to start a Market Research venture called EFG (a branch of the family business MV2 Group in France).
A few years later I started European Football Group, a sports agency, after having "accidentally’ met with Youri Djorkaeff’s entourage prior to his signing with the NY Metrostars (now NY Redbulls).
At the time, I was doing a Master in Sports Business at NYU and was asked to assist him with a couple of projects he had in mind back then.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I started Freud Realty whose main clientele initially came out of my football connections. This business was also created by "accident" (or opportunity as you wish to call it) when I received a call from one of my athlete clients inquiring about buying real estate in Miami and NYC.
I already had my license in NY along with a degree from NYU in Real Estate Development and Financing, so it was helpful!
All 3 businesses are actively in place today and are all feeding each others somehow. It’s about connecting the dots, and as many as possible…
YEE Club at the FACC Florida
French American Chamber of Commerce of Florida
Address: Bâoli Miami, 1906 Collins Ave I Miami Beach, FL 33139
Article published on April 12, 2012.