Colloque Chaire MEA


The "Entrepreneurial Models in Agriculture" Chair

History and missions of the Chair

The Chair in Entrepreneurial Models in Agriculture was created in 2017 and inaugurated in Le Havre in 2018. Its creation is based on several observations:

  1. There is a real entrepreneurial dynamic in agriculture. Farms are run by entrepreneurs who have often taken over the family farm and who have to adapt to a number of challenges, including the agro-ecological transition. There are also a growing number of non-farming entrepreneurs (the Nima) who are also driven by entrepreneurial and agro-ecological values. All these players need to be recognised as entrepreneurs, innovators and testers of new approaches.
  2. Research into agricultural entrepreneurship is very underdeveloped in France. A study conducted by Roland Condor, holder of the Chair and published in 2020 shows that the most productive researchers are based in Northern Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. France and Germany, Europe's leading agricultural producers, are the focus of little research. On the other hand, there is no shortage of topics: the development of renewable energies on farms, farm takeovers by new entrepreneurs, low-carbon approaches, the digitalisation of agriculture, etc.
    CONDOR, R. (2020). Entrepreneurship in agriculture: a literature review. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 40(4), 516-562.
  3. Normandy is an agricultural region. It is famous for its horse-riding, milk and cheese production, and cider. But it's also a land of cereals: it's the leading producer of fibre flax and, with the Port of Rouen, it has a major wheat export hub. It is also famous for its leeks and the famous Créances carrot. In short, the region boasts a wide range of agricultural products, which could not fail to give rise to a chair on entrepreneurial models in agriculture!
  4. Agriculture is rarely mentioned in business school teaching and research programmes. In management schools, the focus is more often on agri-food processing, mass retailing or consumer behaviour when it comes to food. But little is said about agricultural production, i.e. the first stages in the food value chain. The aim of introducing students to the agricultural sector is to make them more aware of the issues involved in primary production.

In creating the MEA Chair, EM Normandie Business School wanted to create a forum for reflection and the dissemination of knowledge on changes in the agricultural sector, drawing on what is being done in the region.

Enquête chaire MEA

The Chair's partners

The Chair currently has four partners: two patrons (Cerfrance and Crédit Mutuel) and two institutional partners (the Normandy Regional Chamber of Agriculture and the Normandy Region). It also has several ongoing research contracts.

Cerfrance is the leading network of chartered accountants and advisers to farmers. Crédit Mutuel is the second largest bank for farmers.

Partenaires de la chaire MEA

Research Programme

In addition to general reflections on agricultural entrepreneurial models, the MEA Chair focuses its research on four programmes:

  1. The logistical structuring of local food circuits. Farmers, local authorities and the catering industry need to work together to meet the challenges of relocating food systems. We need to find the right formula for supplying farm produce to the right place, at the right time and at the best price. The Chair is providing its expertise to inform decision-makers about the options available.
    Circuits courts
  2. Agricultural methanisation and, more generally, the production of renewable energy on farms. It's not widely known, but today's farms are not just places where food is produced, but also places where energy is produced. A farm is a reservoir of waste that can be used to make compost, gas or electricity. The Chair is particularly interested in agricultural methanisation, with a particular focus on the acceptability of projects and their economic performance.

    Contact: Sébastien Bourdin, Full Professor.

  3. The digitalisation of agriculture. Connected tools are developing at a rapid pace in agriculture, particularly to meet the challenges of agro-ecology. However, there are still obstacles to their development. What's more, not all the benefits and limits of digitisation have been explored. The Chair is providing its expertise on these subjects, while seeking to show that the digitalisation of agriculture is not solely a response to the challenges of the agro-ecological transition.

    Aubry, M., Ben Hamadi, Z., Condor, R., Fadil, N., & Fournes, C. (2022). Exploring digitalisation in the agri-food sector and its paradoxes: Evidence from a comparative study with small French companies. STUDIES IN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS, 124(2), 44-58.

    Agriculture connectée
  4. Local carbon offsetting. This is the latest in a long line of research programmes, and not the least because it concerns the transition of agricultural models and the financing of this transition. It's also a subject that brings to mind local food circuits. Roland Condor, who holds the Chair, refers to this as the 'short carbon chain'.

    Condor, R. (2023), Carbon offsetting and agroecological transition: towards the emergence of a short carbon supply chain, Annual Regional Sustainable Development Conference, Ho-Chi-Minh-City (Vietnam), July.

    Plantation de haies

Prize for the best agricultural dissertation

Each year, the Chair rewards a student who has produced an exemplary dissertation on a subject related to agriculture. After an internal pre-selection, 3 to 4 candidates present their dissertations to the Chair's partners.

Trophée du meilleur mémoire

Here are the latest winners:

  • 2022: Constance Biron
    Local food circuits: the role of regional food projects in local food supply.
  • 2021 : Victoire Martin
    The strategic, environmental, territorial and economic challenges and obstacles to the development of methanisation on French farms.
  • 2020 (two winners): Laura Le Goec and Aubert-Aimé Ndjila
    The impact of global warming on French winegrowing businesses
    Financing agricultural entrepreneurship in Gabon: the impact of public policy on entrepreneurial motivation.

Chair events

The Chair organises and participates in various events related to its research topics. The Chair's flagship event is the Business Convention on Low-Carbon Farms. In 2022, this convention brought together nearly 150 people in Yvetot, Seine-Maritime. The aim is to spread the word, bring together players in the field of agricultural decarbonisation, and nurture research so that it can be disseminated more effectively.

The next event will take place on 26 October 2023 on the EM Normandie Business School campuses in Caen (french speaking event).

Other event:

Regional meeting on logistics for short local food circuits in Le Havre on 12 October 2023 (french speaking event).

Last publications

  • Condor, R., (2023), Le Carbon farming : un modèle entrepreneurial pour les agriculteurs, Congrès de l’Académie de l’Entrepreneuriat et de l’innovation, Strasbourg, 29-30 june.
  • Condor, R., & Lavissière, M. C. (2023). Les nouvelles formes d’agriculture : un nouveau modèle agricole ? Revue d’Économie Régionale & Urbaine, (1), 111-134.
  • Aubry, M., Ben Hamadi, Z., Condor, R., Fadil, N., & Fournes, C. (2022). Exploring digitalization in the agri-food sector and its paradoxes: Evidence from a comparative study with small French companies. STUDIES IN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS, 124(2), 44-58.
  • Niang, A., Torre, A., & Bourdin, S. (2022). How do local actors coordinate to implement a successful biogas project?. Environmental Science & Policy, 136, 337-347.
  • Bourdin, S., & Chassy, A. (2023). Are Citizens Ready to Make an Environmental Effort? A Study of the Social Acceptability of Biogas in France. Environmental Management, 1-12.
  • Niang, A., Torre, A., & Bourdin, S. (2022). Territorial governance and actors’ coordination in a local project of anaerobic digestion. A social network analysis. European Planning Studies, 30(7), 1251-1270.
  • Faulques, M., Bonnet, J., Bourdin, S., Juge, M., Pigeon, J., & Richard, C. (2022). Generational effect and territorial distributive justice, the two main drivers for willingness to pay for renewable energies. Energy Policy, 168, 113094.
Roland Condor


Holder of the "Entrepreneurial Models in Agriculture" chair

Le Havre