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French Tech

French Tech refers to all market participants that work in liaison with French start-ups, from investors to entrepreneurs, developers and graphic designers. It's also a French government initiative aimed at showcasing and encouraging start-ups. So what does French Tech mean exactly? What does it cover and what are the objectives?

What does French Tech refer to?

The term French Tech encompasses everyone who works in liaison with French start-ups. It's a collective and open label that covers the entire French ecosystem of start-ups, both in France and internationally. This means there are no eligibility conditions or selection criteria: all French start-ups can be included under the French Tech umbrella and indeed are French Tech if they're simply involved in developing this ecosystem in one way or another.

Similarly, all market participants that surround or promote start-ups belong to French Tech. This is of course the case with start-up entrepreneurs and founders, as well as the people who work there (designers, engineers, design experts, developers, etc.), their investors and any entity, whether an organisation or an individual (associations, research institute, media, etc.), that work to grow and promote them.

The term French Tech also refers to a public initiative spearheaded in 2013 by Fleur Pellerin, the then minister for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy. The goal of this initiative is to foster the emergence of successful French start-ups by creating the French Tech label, showcasing existing initiatives to promote start-ups and coordinating the various public actions in their favour. In the long term, the objectives are of course to stimulate the digital innovation sector, the creation of business value by companies and the creation of new jobs.

What is the French Tech Mission?

To drive this initiative, the French government created the French Tech Mission in 2013. This structure works with the Ministry of Economic and Financial Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Commissariat for Investment. It also draws on the Caisse des Dépôts, Bpifrance and Business France regarding investment matters, and coordinates all actions to foster the growth of start-ups.

The French Tech Mission's actions can be summed up in three words:
  • Unite
By bringing together all participants in the French ecosystem under a single name and a single strong visual identity, French Tech becomes the emblem of French start-ups. It promotes identification, as well as dialogue and synergies between the various players, both nationally and regionally through structures called "Métropole French Tech".
  • Accelerate
The French Tech Mission has three drivers to accelerate the formation and development of French Tech companies. Firstly, there's an investment programme managed by Bpifrance to fund private start-up accelerators, then the French Tech Pass programme, which helps extremely fast-growing companies to expand and develop internationally by providing premium services. Lastly, the French Tech Grant programme supports business formation projects based on innovation and high potential.
  • Influence
The French Tech Mission also aims to raise awareness of French Tech companies and promote them internationally. It runs marketing and communication campaigns to attract international investors and entrepreneurs, and to promote start-ups in the media. Through Business France, the French Tech Mission also invites founders of promising start-ups to international events focusing on digital and innovation. French Tech's influence also involves the creation of an international label inviting digital entrepreneurs based abroad to meet as part of 'French Tech Hubs' to promote French innovation and talent worldwide. Discover all our products

French Tech initiatives to integrate new talents

Through its efforts, the French Tech Mission supports the development of digital start-ups and companies working in innovation. However, its role doesn't end there. To boost and recruit new talents, it also strives to facilitate access to the French start-up ecosystem.

As such, the French Tech Diversity programme supports start-up founders from disadvantaged backgrounds and priority neighbourhoods: if their project is promising enough to be chosen, they can receive one year's support in a partner incubator and financial help to develop their project.

To support innovation in the French Tech ecosystem, it's also essential to be able to attract new talents to it, notably from abroad. That's why the French Tech Mission strives to ensure they are properly integrated. The French Tech Ticket helps a selection of foreign entrepreneurs who want to create or develop their start-up in France to successfully carry out their projects, including making it easier to obtain a residency permit, joining a partner incubator and helping to finance the project.

The French Tech Visa programme has similar goals, allowing foreigners who wish to join the French Tech label to obtain a residency and work permit more easily.

The "Métropole French Tech" label

The "Métropole French Tech" label was created to strengthen the network of French Tech entrepreneurs. This label is designed to unite start-ups in the same area, as well as to create and strengthen local dynamics. These structures attract private and public French Tech participants, as well as the resources necessary for the development, innovation and visibility of the companies.

"Métropole French Tech" structures also have "totem locations" where entrepreneurs can meet at a physical hub, rather than just a virtual one. This facility fosters synergies by bringing together French Tech people and resources: entrepreneurs, incubators, business angels, etc.

In France, 13 "Métropole French Tech" structures have already been labelled based on the number, strength and growth of the local entrepreneurs and start-ups in their area. These 13 "Métropole French Tech" structures range from cities (Bordeaux, Brest, Montpellier, Toulouse, Lille, Lyon, Nantes) to groups of towns (Aix-Marseille French Tech, French Tech Rennes-Saint-Malo, French Tech in the Alps) and regions (Côte d'Azur, LORnTECH in Lorraine, Normandy).

Lastly, "Métropole French Tech" structures act as bridges for the national initiative and communicate with each other to, once again, foster dialogue, feedback and the sharing of skills and business, not only in the same area but also between the various French Tech participants in the country.

For the same reasons, French Tech Themed Networks have been identified to bring together start-ups in the same branch at a national level. Bringing together companies from the same sector of innovation improves cohesion, identifies each organisation's needs and facilitates networking among different participants. It's also easier to plan concrete actions within a themed network of start-ups across the nation. There are currently nine French Tech Themed Networks: HealthTech, IoT Manufacturing, EdTech Entertainment, Security Privacy, FoodTech AgTech, CleanTech Mobility, FinTech, Retail and Sport.

French Tech internationally

Driving the ecosystem by adopting a local and sectoral rationale appears to be the key to creating the French Tech network. This same approach led in 2015 to the creation of French Tech Hubs, communities of start-ups that bring together French entrepreneurs abroad. This is a key driver for uniting start-up founders internationally and encouraging dialogue with start-ups in France.

There are currently 22 French Tech Hubs internationally, not just in Europe (Milan, Berlin, Barcelona, London and Moscow) but also in North America (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Montreal), Africa (Abidjan and Cape Town), Asia (Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Vietnam), the Middle and Far East (Dubai and Israel) and São Paulo in South America.

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