France’s Tech Frenzy Attracting Broad Range of Events

Author: Rémi Dévé       

France tech

The RoboCup, a robot football competition, will take place in Bordeaux in 2020. (© The RoboCup Federation)

With a growing number of young people aspiring to be entrepreneurs, France, in recent years, has made it easier for them to start businesses. Laws and regulations have been adapted so that people can start a business almost effortlessly now in France — with less red tape, in fact, than many other G20 countries.

This trend largely began with the French Tech Initiative. Convinced by the necessity of promoting the emergence of successful startups as a way to generate economic value and jobs, the French government created the initiative at the end of 2013. Its philosophy? Build on the efforts of the French tech industry, highlight what already exists, and create a snowball effect. A vibrant ecosystem, French Tech is boosting a collective dynamic: Startups are considered serious players, creating economic value and inspiring innovation.

President Emmanuel Macron says he wants France to be a “startup nation” and the country is on its way to becoming one. The number of startups is exploding and French firms are finding global success as Criteo, BlaBlaCar, and DBV Technologies demonstrate.

John Chambers, the former executive chairman of Cisco, said back in 2017 that “France is Europe’s Silicon Valley.” And since the start of his presidency that same year, Macron has promoted an ambitious digital agenda, pushing through economic and labor reforms to make France more attractive to investors. In this context, for instance, he announced last year that France would invest €1.5 billion in artificial intelligence research through 2022.

France is constantly welcoming high-profile events reflecting this tech and startup spirit. They include the 2018 WEB Conference held in Lyon; GreenSys 2019, the International Symposium on Advanced Technologies & Management for Innovative Greenhouses being held in Angers in June; and RoboCup, a football competition among robots that aims to promote robotics and artificial intelligence research. That event will take place in Bordeaux in 2020.

And symbolic statements, like the opening in 2017 of Station F have also generated a buzz. “The world’s biggest startup campus” is an entire entrepreneurial ecosystem under one roof in Paris. The unique campus is a mammoth co-living space for entrepreneurs, covering 34,000 square meters.

France tech

The Cité Lyon Convention Centre played host for the 2018 WEB Conference. (Nicolas Robin/Lyon Tourisme et Congrès)

This article was contributed by Boardroom and edited for use in Communique.