Macron and Station F: a match made in… start-up nation France. Beginning October president Emmanuel Macron took the stage again at Station F, the biggest start-up campus in the world, for an event organized by La French Tech to meet over 2000 French Tech Entrepreneurs.
Macron was accompanied by Roxanne Varza, director of Station F. One of the announcement Varza made was that more start-ups will be accepted for the Fighters Program, a program created to give entrepreneurs from diverse, multicultural backgrounds the opportunity to join Station F. Kat Borlongan, the new director of La French Tech also took the stage to explain the French Tech initiative. La French Tech is an initiative from the public sector to promote and foster the French startup ecosystem.
President Macron reminded the French entrepreneurs of his ambition to make France a start-up nation. During the event he recalled the four remaining challenges for this:
- Scaling up
“For this it’s important to have an ecosystem that provides room for growth. Especially the funding ecosystem, and we will have to focus on this.”
Regarding private financing and structuring the French financings Macron indicated that France is on a good level. However, regarding VC’s : “ We need more structure. On national level and on European level”. He then added that those who invest in the French economy and more particularly in the start-up scenes, doesn’t any longer have to pay the ISF (the French solidarity tax on wealth).”
2. Attract talent
How to attract talent? Or as Macron said: “How do we train them? How do we keep them? How do we attract them?”. As one of the ‘answers’ to these questions, Macron announced that on the 1st of March the already known La French Tech Visa will be simplified, which will attract talent from all around the world much easier, more powerful and much faster.
3. Simplify the rules –
“We have to continue simplify certain rules. We have already started doing it and those who think we will stop, are wrong.” For Macron the third challenge is that France invents an ecosystem with values and ways of operating that are ‘a little different’. He also added that the French ecosystem also carries a form of social responsibility, an environmental conscience, a desire to invent economic models that are educational models and at the same time can transform society. And for that certain rules need to be simplified according to Macron.
Macron emphasized that tech companies are more than welcome to join ‘the movement’ in France and that France will make sure to simply the rules for this, but that they fairly need to pay their taxes and they need to be responsible and think about the effect of ‘tech’ on society.
President Macron would not be president Macron if he would not have added: “This all will be achieved with, in and by Europe.” He stated that it is “thanks to Europe” to succeed against the unfair competition of some big digital players, in having a real European market which allows to grow faster and stronger and to succeed to have rules that will protect our private life.
Not only did Macron specify the challenges, he also gave the French Tech audience a confidence boost by recalling great numbers of the first semester of 2018: “”Whether it is the creation of start-ups, or fundraising, in amount as in number, we have an increase between 40 and 60%. So there is a tremendous progress that has been made, there is a dynamic, which is yours” .