Frédéric Bardeau, Erwan Kezzar, Andrei Vladescu-Olt and Victor Defontaine, co-founders.
An intensive training in programming aimed primarily at unemployed people and underrepresented profiles in the digital sector (women, refugees, seniors). Its educational approach helps participants develop long-term professional and social skills.
What solution does the innovation propose?

Simplon aims to fill the skills gap in the digital sector by training unemployed people to develop digital skills and reach their social inclusion. It seeks to build capacity among participants in vulnerable situations, enabling them to offer a range of professional services that are in increasing market demand: web development, coding, programming, app design or data management.


Frédéric Bardeau is an Ashoka Fellow (2015). Grand Prix de l'Innovation de la Ville de Paris, mention in Social Innovation (2014). Lauréat Entrepreneuriat du concours Samsung Launching People (2013).

Impact evidence

  • 2,265 people trained in programming and other digital skills.
  • Six months after the training, 78% of participants have a positive exit (of whom, 84% gain employment and 16% engage in further training or internships). 
  • Participants find work in the following sectors: service activities (39%), information and communication (23%), scientific and technical specialised activities (12%), public administration and education (7%), and financial, insurance and real estate activities (5%) among others
How does it work?

Participants get involved full time in a six-month free training programme. Its educational approach includes methods such as learning by doing, learning by teaching, reverse mentoring and peer education with the aim to develop long-term professional and social skills among the group. It focuses on coding and programming, but it also develops soft skills such as curiosity, creativity, self-learning, leadership and self-esteem. Teachers do not deliver an exhaustive academic curriculum with turn-key solutions: students have to meet concrete goals and face difficulties on their own, putting cooperation, solidarity and autonomy into practice.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Montreuil, France.
Where has been implemented so far
International network operating in Belgium, Lebanon, Spain and Senegal. Working on next openings in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Jordan and Switzerland.
Last updated: 
March 2019