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Third meeting of the IFA “Russian Investors Club”

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Country focus, Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Sectors of excellence; May 28, 2014

The third meeting of the IFA “Russian Investors Club” was held on May 21, 2014 in the presence of Serge Boscher, Managing Director of the Invest in France Agency, and His Excellency Alexander Orlov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to France. More than forty participants attended the conference in an informal atmosphere at the IFA’s headquarters.

“The potential for Russian investment in France is considerable” declares Serge Boscher

For the third time, the IFA and the Russian Embassy in Paris brought together the Russian business community with a view to furthering the dialogue initiated in 2013 and to supporting the development of Russian investment projects in France. Nine projects were confirmed in 2013, aided by the Invest in France Agency (IFA), including four first-time investments, leading to the creation of 225 jobs. In all, there are now 38 Russian firms doing business in France, 15 more than in 2012.

Central theme: France, a land of innovation

Alain DEMAROLLE_Membre de la Commission Innovation (2)Over the course of the morning, the participants heard about two recent French initiatives. The first, the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge”, was presented by Alain Demarolle, Finance Inspector and a member of the Innovation 2030 Commission, who offered a reminder of “the sectors in which France is keen to make concerted efforts to promote innovation and in which it has longstanding expertise.” David MONTEAU_Directeur mission French TechThe second, “La French Tech”, a government initiative to support France’s digital economy, was presented by David Monteau, the Director of the program. Mr. Monteau discussed the components of the project’s success, as well as mentioning a number of start-ups that had grown into successful companies. He also invited the Russian community to embrace the initiative and develop ties between French and Russian start-ups.

Alexandre LAMY_ARSISThere were two further speakers at the conference: Alexandre Lamy, a lawyer and partner in the law firm Arsis, who presented France’s latest labor market reforms (Employment Act of June 14, 2013), and Thilo SCHOENFELD_AerospaceValley (2) - CopieThilo Schoenfeld, Head of International Affairs at Aerospace Valley, the world-class innovation cluster for aerospace applications and embedded systems, who explained more about how France’s 71 innovation clusters operate.

The Russian investors who attended gained an insight into France’s potential after hearing from one subsidiary of the Progresstech group, represented by Galya Brovko, CEO France. Progresstech, Russia’s leading provider of intellectual services for the aerospace and air transport sectors, recently decided to set up its first European operations in Toulouse. Ms. Brovko spoke of the support they received from the IFA and Midi Pyrénées Expansion as it entered the French market and expects to create 50 jobs in France over the next three years.

Galya BROVKO_Directeur France_Tucana Engineering - Copie

This innovation-focused meeting served to demonstrate “the convergence of French and Russian talent and expertise”, as Mr. Boscher put it. Ambassador Orlov also reiterated the overriding desire for “Franco-Russian cooperation in high-tech and innovation sectors”. The buoyant nature of the meeting reflects the growing number of Russian projects and investments in France.

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Prestigious MIT Technology Review France Awards for the 10 most promising French innovators under 35

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Investment in France, Sectors of excellence; May 27, 2014

 “The talent displayed by the 10 winners and the quality of their work reflect France’s fantastic innovation potential.” Mr. Louis Treussard, CEO of L’Atelier BNP Paribas.


The MIT Technology Review’s awards to innovators under 35 in France (“TR35 France”) took place on April 9, 2014. The 10 talented award-winners were given the opportunity to present their project to an audience of specialists from around the world.

First held last year, the TR35 France list has one central objective: “To uncover young talent capable of addressing society’s problems by reinventing technology”. To be considered among the best innovators in France, these young entrepreneurs were selected according to various criteria: creativity, ingenuity, impact and relevance. The experts sitting on the jury included Mr. Louis Treussard, CEO of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, Mr. David Fattal, 2013 French Innovator of the Year and one of the winners on the 2013 global TR35 list, as well as Mr. Franck Le Ouay, cofounder of Criteo.

This group of experts rewarded the 10 young entrepreneurs for carrying out “technological projects with a significant social and economic impact.” One of the winners, Mr. Karim Fahssis, 29, has developed software to support projects in locating and funding wind farm sites, while another, Ms. Deniz Dalkara (Institute of Vision), has created viruses able to supply the retina with the genes required to treat blindness in a less invasive manner. Mr. David Vissière (Sysnav) presented a GPS-free navigation and geolocation system that relies on the earth’s magnetic field and inexpensive sensors.

The awards represent not only a platform for French innovation’s top entrepreneurs, but also provide the 10 winning projects with the luster of a global showcase and official recognition from the MIT.

Focus on three promising projects selected for the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge”

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Investment in France, Sectors of excellence; April 15, 2014

On March 20, 2014, the French Prime Minister announced the first 58 preliminary stage-winners of the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” that will each receive initial state funding of up to €200,000 for their project.

Here we focus on three innovative French projects that were among those selected.

Among the seven strategic fields defined by the French government for this competition, the “big data” field has proven to be the most successful to date, with 15 projects selected from nearly 190 propositions. One of these is “Smart Search”, an employment search engine created by Simon Bouchez and Jérémy Gresser, which uses government employment data (from INSEE, the National Employment Office, Etalab) to match job offers to promising job-seekers. As such, it seeks to use data processing to create a more efficient and customized labor market for recruiters, candidates and decision-makers alike. The “Smart Search” project was presented by a French start-up, Multiposting, founded in 2008 that develops online software solutions for the human resources industry. Thanks to its selection in the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” and the subsequent award of €200,000, this project will enable the company “to strengthen its positioning as a leading player in the e‑recruitment market, both in France and internationally”.

Another innovative project from another sector is “Instent” in the “personalized medicine” field. Involving teams of students and practitioners from the École Polytechnique, the École National Supérieure Cachan and the Georges Pompidou Hospital, the aim of this project is to create an intelligent stent. This device, inserted into the arteries of heart disease patients to prevent heart attacks, will now also be able to communicate data on the state of the blood vessels being treated, and may help to save and improve lives by indicating whether a further operation is required. It also promises to lower treatment costs in the French healthcare system and avoid unnecessary surgery.

The “Move2Chm” project, presented by Veolia Environnement in partnership with SAS PIVERT and Sofiprotéol, was selected in the “plant proteins and plant chemistry” field. Its project leader is Anne-Sophie Lepeuple, head of the “Agronomy & Biotechnology” research group at Veolia Environnement. “Move2Chem” is a renewable energies sector project that reuses waste from the agri-food industry. The idea is to transform the waste into “chemical molecules to create new materials and products (dyes, solvents, polymers, etc.).”  This ingenious method not only avoids depleting fossil resources but also reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

These three projects, along with the other preliminary stage-winners already selected, are just a small reflection of the buoyancy of the innovation sector in France.

For further information, please visit:

An overview of the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” and key dates (in English)

A list of the first 58 projects selected during the start-up phase of the competition (in French)

The “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” press pack (in French)

France lays the foundations of the future with the “Innovation 2030” program (in English)




France lays the foundations of the future with the “Innovation 2030” program

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Investment in France; April 11, 2014

“Creating a business can be a long process, subject to uncertainty and involving no little risk-taking, but I hope nevertheless that the French government will be a long-term partner for these inventors, by stimulating their creative energies and giving them the chance to bring their project to fruition.” Jean-Marc Ayrault.


The first 58 preliminary stage-winners of the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge”, launched by the French government in December 2013, have been selected by the “Innovation 2030” Commission chaired by Anne Lauvergeon, the former head of French nuclear giant Areva.

The challenge, open to entrepreneurs of any nationality making investments in France, has already received 625 preliminary-stage applications. Fifty-eight of these projects with a strong innovation potential were pre-selected and rewarded at a ceremony on March 20, 2014, attended by former Prime Minister Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Ms. Geneviève Fioraso, formerly Minister Delegate for Higher Education and Research, Ms. Fleur Pellerin, formerly Minister Delegate for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy, and Mr. Arnaud Montebourg, formerly Minister for Industrial Renewal, as well as the 20 members of the “Innovation 2030” Commission chaired by Ms. Lauvergeon.

To get their project underway, preliminary stage winners will receive initial state funding of up to €200,000. A total of €300 million has been made available by the French government to support and encourage entrepreneurial creativity through this competition, underpinning France’s buoyant innovation economy by stimulating the development of promising projects for the French economy between now and 2030.

Candidates for the second selection wave of the preliminary phase have until May 15, 2014 to apply on the Worldwide Innovation Challenge” website, when the number of projects selected will reach 100. Ms. Lauvergeon has assured that there will be a higher number of winners from foreign countries.

The aim of the challenge is “to foster talent and bring out future champions of the French economy. It will accomplish this by identifying and providing support to both French and foreign entrepreneurs whose innovation projects have significant prospects for the French economy”. This initiative promises to offer more than just state support, and to be a springboard for many promising companies based in France. The challenge is based on seven dynamic fields seen as major opportunities for France’s future economic development. They are:

1. Energy storage

2. Recycling of metals

3. Development of marine resources

4. Plant proteins and plant chemistry

5. Personalized medicine

6. The silver economy: innovation in the service of longevity

7. Big data

In Ms. Lauvergeon’s view, these sectors “will respond to the needs of tomorrow’s society and generate greater value added and employment in France”.

For further information, please visit:

An overview of the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” and key dates (in English)

The “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” press pack (in French)

Video extracts of Jean-Marc Ayrault’s speech (in French)

Franco-Chinese week is a resounding success!

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Country focus, Events, France's image, Investment in France; April 4, 2014

France has just enjoyed a fantastic Franco-Chinese week. The presence of Chinese President Xi during his state visit to France was celebrated with various festivities and demonstrations of friendship between the two countries.

This very special week coincided with the Franco-Chinese Economic Forum at the French Ministry for the Economy in Paris on March 27. More than 500 French and Chinese participants attended, including 220 Chinese business leaders. The IFA was the forum’s institutional partner and organized a session on the theme of investment for growth and employment. The event was officially closed by speeches from President Xi Jinping and President François Hollande to mark the fiftieth anniversary celebration of Franco-Chinese relations that was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that afternoon.

An ‘investment attractiveness’ breakfast, organized by the IFA earlier in the day to promote the launch of a new book*, Quand la Chine investit en France” (“When China invests in France”) by Hubert Testard and Brigitte Dyan, was geared towards maintaining and consolidating business relations between the two countries. It was also an opportunity for the 70 individuals who attended to discuss Chinese investment in France, but also wider themes such as the challenges of technological catch-up, the difficulties and uncertainties overcome during the investment process, and various intercultural aspects.

“Quand la Chine investit en France”

During their public addresses Presidents Jinping and Hollande repeatedly highlighted their desire to “promote mutual understanding and knowledge between the people of China and France”, while also stressing the “importance of boosting investment” between the two nations.

Chinese investment in France is already on the rise: the number of Chinese projects here has increased tenfold over the last decade. From one or two projects a year at the beginning of the millennium, the figure has risen in stages to around 10 and then 20 per annum, rising to 33 new job-creating investment projects in 2013. While this growth of Chinese investment is apparent across Europe, France is one of the leading beneficiaries. At the end of 2013, it was the second largest recipient of Chinese investment in Europe, after the United Kingdom and ahead of Germany.

Today, some 200 Chinese companies have operations in France, running more than 250 sites and employing over 13,000 people**. For instance, the Bluestar group alone employs more than 2,000 people in France and the Yanhai Tanhai group more than 1,000.

These positive results can be explained, of course, by the numerous key strengths that the French economy offers to investors. But they are also rooted in the efforts made by the French authorities to encourage and facilitate the arrival of Chinese investors in France.

The Invest in France Agency has been detecting potential investors and supporting Chinese firms for more than 10 years. It recently strengthened its presence in China, growing from two to three offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Furthermore, every major communication campaign since 2004 has covered China, the latest of which in 2012-13 focused on innovation.

The IFA also engages with the Chinese business community in France throughout the year. The culmination of these daily efforts is the “Chinese Investors Club, an event organized in conjunction with the IFA’s partners, the AECF (Association of Chinese Companies in France) and the CCIP (Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry), under the high patronage of the Chinese Embassy in France.

Our commitment to supporting the Chinese business community in France has never been stronger than it is today, a few months into 2014.

*available in French and Mandarin

** Source: 2013 Report on job-creating foreign investment in France

See also: Notes from the author of “Quand la Chine investit en France“Quand la Chine investit en France”

“Quand la Chine investit en France”

“La French Tech”: an ambitious French initiative

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Investment in France, La French Tech, Reforms, Sectors of excellence; March 10, 2014

Since May 2012, the French President Mr. François Hollande and his government have made supporting innovation and start-ups in France a priority. “We want to make use of digital technology to promote growth, employment and regional equality”, said Prime Minister Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault at the government’s first digital seminar on February 28, 2013.

The French government’s first digital seminar on February 28, 2013

The French government’s first digital seminar on February 28, 2013. Photo: Yves Malenfer/Matignon

As such, a series of initiatives has been introduced to respond to issues relating to financing and services available to the digital ecosystem in France.

A new deal for innovation in France

In November 2012, the “National Pact for Competitiveness, Growth and Employment” laid the foundations for this new approach by introducing an innovation tax credit and establishing a state innovation fund. An entrepreneurship round table, the “Assises de l’entrepreneuriat, which brought together 300 key figures from the business world, went on to confirm these resolutions: among 44 tangible proposals put forward, it was decided that entrepreneurs whose businesses had failed should be given a second chance and that the process of developing start-ups with “innovative new company” status (jeune entreprise innovante – JEI) should be simplified.

Numerous reforms have been made to further open up France’s ecosystems to foreign talent. For example, the “Talent Passport” will make it easier for qualified professionals to come and work in France. Simplified procedures will enable them to obtain a work permit and gain access to the resources needed to establish themselves in France. The “Talent Passport” is aimed at socio-professional categories in line with the needs of France’s economy, including highly qualified employees, investors, recent graduates and researchers. The government hopes to issue 10,000 “Talent Passports” every year.

French tech logoThe “La French Tech” initiative 

In the same vein as the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” (Concours Mondial de l’Innovation), the “La French Tech” initiative, backed by Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate with responsibility for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy, forms part of this range of measures to promote innovation and France’s digital ecosystem.

The goal of “La French Tech” is to put France firmly on the world map of leading digital nations as “the Start-Up Republic”. The aim is to foster the emergence of global champions that can grow from a handful of employees to a workforce of thousands in just a few years. France needs to back this collective dynamic to promote the development of ecosystems for digital start-ups and high-growth digital companies.

The “La French Tech” initiative brings together France’s most dynamic digital ecosystems and includes an “acceleration” component of €200 million to foster start-up growth.

The founding step of “La French Tech” will involve issuing “French Tech Digital Cities” accreditation to form a “French national team” representing the highest level of potential growth and international investment attractiveness. The goal then is to stimulate growth in these ecosystems both in France and abroad.

Fleur Pellerin launching the call for proposals for “accredited digital cities” on January, 29th 2014.

Fleur Pellerin launching the call for proposals for “accredited digital cities” on January 29, 2014.

To this end, “La French Tech” will open its first two hubs in 2014 in the United States (in San Francisco and Boston). The San Francisco hub has already made waves by offering a great image of this new collective dynamic: the French President’s embrace with Mr. Carlos Diaz, one of the leaders of the “Pigeons” movement of eager young entrepreneurs, who declared He said exactly what needed to be said and what we wanted to hear!”

The French President’s embrace with Mr. Carlos Diaz

The French President’s embrace with Mr. Carlos Diaz

Moreover, “La French Tech” has enjoyed a high profile both in France and internationally since the end of 2013 thanks to its strong presence at key events in the sector. For example, in the last few weeks, Ms. Pellerin has promoted the initiative’s aims at the Le Web’13 conference in Paris (December 2013), the CES in Las Vegas (January 2014) and, more recently, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – all key exhibitions in the digital field. The “La French Tech” evenings held at these events were an opportunity to present the latest in French innovation, and enable talented French and foreign individuals to meet, chat and think about new partnerships.

Fleur Pellerin supporting La French Tech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 2014

Fleur Pellerin supporting “La French Tech” at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 2014

In 2014, “La French Tech” is attending SXSW in Austin in March and will partner with TR35 France (for French innovators under 35 years old) organized by the MIT Technology Review and the Hello Tomorrow Challenge.

The “La French Tech” quest to promote innovation à la française can look forward to a bright future!

French Tech Fleur Pellerin

France makes waves at CES 2014 in Las Vegas

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Country focus, Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, La French Tech, Sectors of excellence; January 22, 2014

France made a big impression at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 7-10, 2014. Participants included the Invest in France Agency (IFA), represented by its Chairman & CEO Mr. David Appia, UBIFRANCE (the French government agency for international business development), the Minalogic innovation cluster, and more than 70 French companies, as well as political and business leaders, including Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy, and Mr. Pierre Gattaz, President of the French Business Confederation (MEDEF).

France at CES 2014 Fleur Pellerin

“La French Tech” evening

An evening devoted to the government’s new “La French Tech” initiative, held on the opening night, was a huge success, attracting more than 250 guests. The Minister presented her new projects to promote innovation in France and attract foreign investors to the country she has now dubbed “The Start-up Republic”.

France at CES 2014 Fleur Pellerin

An impressive number of French start-ups at CES 2014

An impressive number of French start-ups attending the exhibition, including several specializing in connected devices such as Withings, Sen.se, Netatmo and Kolibree, demonstrated the strength in depth of France’s digital technology ecosystem to the American media, and provided numerous success stories for Ms. Pellerin to highlight during an interview with CNN.

Fleur Pellerin CES 2014 France

France meeting with American companies

The minister also spoke to various American firms, including Netflix and Good Technology, and paid a visit to the facilities of Zappos, an e-commerce giant with a huge set of operations in Las Vegas. During this visit, she suggested that her American contact should “come and see what Vente-Privée is doing in Paris”.

France at CES 2014 Pierre Gattaz MEDEF

IFA representatives were also able to talk with American companies already doing business in France, such as Microsoft and Cisco, and to promote France to others thinking about setting up in the country.

All in all, the event was a great success for “La French Tech” and all those promoting innovation in France!

Fleur Pellerin with French startups at CES 2014

December 12, 2013 – LeWeb’13 Dinner with France’s Digital Economy Minister

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Investment in France, La French Tech, Sectors of excellence; January 9, 2014

To mark the LeWeb’13 Paris exhibition held on December 10-12, 2013, Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate with responsibility for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy, and the event organizers hosted a dinner, supported by the IFA, at the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance on December 10, 2013 bringing together key internet stakeholders, including speakers at LeWeb’13, French and foreign start-ups, such as Criteo, OpenClassRooms, Withings, YMagis and Facebook, among other big names.  The principal aim of the dinner was for the 200 participants to meet the teams running the government’s “La French Tech” initiative, but also to discuss the digital environment in France.


Ms. Pellerin opened the evening by providing an overview of “La French Tech” and its work that will begin in 2014 to promote France’s key strengths in the digital economy. La French Tech will carry our ambition to come together to foster growth and raise the international profile of digital start-ups in France.”

Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate with responsibility for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy

Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate with responsibility for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy

During the meal, several speeches highlighted a number of French success stories in the digital sector. Ms. Marion Carette, who founded Zilok and Ouicar, talked about the achievements of these companies in France. According to the founder of Withings, Mr. Eric Carreel, there is “a new wave of energy about the sector in France”, heralding a step-change that deserved to be acted upon, while the founder of Criteo, Mr. Jean-Baptiste Rudelle, looked ahead to forthcoming developments for his company on the international stage.

Ms. Marion Carette, who founded Zilok and Ouicar

Ms. Marion Carette, who founded Zilok and Ouicar

The dinner was also a chance to extend dialogue and demonstrate the vibrancy of new technologies and the digital sector in France, which is reflected by the genuine interest it holds for key digital economy players.


The evening ended on a laid-back note as a photography session was held with the Minister and her guests.

Jean-Baptiste Rudelle and Fleur Pellerin

Jean-Baptiste Rudelle and Fleur Pellerin

>> View the pictures of this event on Pinterest

Le Web’13 in Paris: three days to define “the next 10 years”

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Investment in France, La French Tech, Sectors of excellence; January 9, 2014

For the third year in a row, the Invest in France Agency (IFA) was among the sponsors of the Le Web’ exhibition, which took place in Paris on December 10-12, 2013.


Like every year, Loïc and Géraldine Le Meur opened the conference by announcing its underlying theme: “The next 10 years”. The event’s various speakers attempted to predict what the future holds in terms of technological innovation and to anticipate how our lifestyles will have evolved in a world that will shatter our current frames of reference.

Future will be social and mobile

According to venture capitalist Fred Wilson, the future will be marked by a general “dismantling”. Our current media channels and the methods we have employed for years, or even centuries, will have to be scrapped. For instance, he believes that Twitter will soon replace newspapers and that most teaching will take place online (eliminating the need for physical premises) and on tablet computers (eliminating the need for printed books).

David Marcus, President of PayPal

David Marcus, President of PayPal

David Marcus, President of PayPal, spoke about the changes that will affect payment methods and declared that “the world will reinvent money”. We will make more and more payments not only online but also on the move, because “money is becoming mobile”, a trend that the company is keen to lead.

Others highlighted the importance of the social dimension over the coming years. According to Jeremiah Owyjang, founder of Crowd Companies, “People are empowered: the crowd becomes the new company!

The IFA team at the PREDA stand

The IFA team at the PREDA stand

Funding must go where talent is

Others believe that we simply cannot predict the future: “If we look at the past, it’s clearly impossible!” pointed out Guy Kawazaki. He encourages European start-ups to put forward innovative ideas that break away from those imagined in America’s Silicon Valley: “People in France have better ideas, so don’t restrict yourselves to what the United States has done in the past… You no longer need to go to Silicon Valley to become successful”. Funding must gravitate towards talent, something that was later reiterated by Michael Sippey, Product VP at Twitter, who believes that France shows great promise: “Twitter has been incredibly successful in France.”

Michael Sippey, Product VP at Twitter

Michael Sippey, Product VP at Twitter

LeWeb’ is also the scene of the now traditional contest between start-ups to showcase the talents and trends of tomorrow. During this edition, many were inspired by the theme of “responsible innovation”. It is worth noting that three French start-ups took part in the contest: meludia, Fidbaks and ubleam.

Start-ups in competitions @ LeWeb'13

Start-ups in competitions @ LeWeb’13

“France, Europe’s leading start-up nation”

When it comes to innovation, the French can hold their heads high: LeWeb’13 was the chance to present innovative new projects such as SmartCity2025, launched by France Télévisions in association with SNCF and Gares & Connexions, and “NextTwo”, an autonomous connected car created by Renault and Orange that will hit the market in 2018. On the third day, Mr. Arnaud Montebourg, Minister for Industrial Renewal, and Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy, spoke about French innovation and took part in a debate with web entrepreneurs. Ms. Pellerin took this opportunity to reassert the aims of the La French Tech initiative and the goal of “making France Europe’s leading start-up nation”. To conclude her speech, the Minister handed the Start-up of the Year Award to IntelClinic, a Polish start-up that has invented a sleeping-aid mask that can measure brain waves.

Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy  © La Tribune

Ms. Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy © La Tribune

All told, this year’s edition was a resounding success. What remains to be seen is whether the predictions made over these three days will come true by 2023!

The inaugural “Investment Attractiveness Breakfast”, December 12, 2013

Posted by Invest in France Agency in Country focus, Events, France's image, Innovation and R&D, Reforms, Sectors of excellence; December 20, 2013

The prestigious Hôtel Bristol was chosen by the Invest in France Agency (IFA) and its key partner, and IFA Partners Network member, Deloitte – represented, respectively, by Mr. David Appia, Chairman and CEO of the IFA and Ambassador for International Investment, and Mr. David Dupont-Noël, Partner and member of Deloitte France’s executive committee – as the venue for the inaugural “Investment Attractiveness Breakfast” on December 12, 2013.

Thirty-five participants, including economic advisors and trade representatives from around twenty foreign embassies, attended to listen and speak to Mr. Jean-Paul Betbèze, a renowned economist and member of the French National Economic Commission, the Robert Schumann Foundation Scientific Committee, and the French Academy of Commercial Sciences.

France: new measures and economic strenghts

For this inaugural working breakfast, Mr. Betbèze chose to broach the topic of the global economic crisis and the strategy consequently implemented by France. The participants discussed the economic difficulties being experienced in developed countries, focusing in particular on Europe and France (government debt in EU Member States, problems arising from high labor costs, monetary policy, etc.), before analyzing France’s strategy to beat the crisis, the reforms it has initiated and the economic strengths it can build upon.

Mr. Betbèze’s view is that in a nervy global economy France must embrace reform to emerge from the crisis, overhauling its tax system, reducing public spending and easing its debt burden. A number of measures have already been launched to boost the French economy over the longer term. These include the renewal and extension of France’s research tax credit, the launch of a competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE) due to save companies €20 billion in 2014, the enactment of a new Employment Act to boost competitiveness and make the job market more reactive, as well as a “simplification drive” to reduce the complexity of French administrative formalities. These are just some of the arguments illustrating France’s investment attractiveness.

France: a pro-active country in innovation

Beyond this willingness to reform, it is important to note another crucial pillar, which is the emphasis placed on innovation. France is one of the most pro-active countries in Europe in this area, as can be seen by its research tax credit and the €5 billion worth of support France offers to R&D. France is the only European nation to have set up such a framework of support, from which 2,000 foreign companies benefit every year. More recently, a host of ambitious programs have been launched: a set of 34 sector-based initiatives to foster a French industrial renaissance, which includes support to help devise future technologies, as well as the “Worldwide Innovation Challenge” launched as part of the Innovation 2030 Commission initiative, led by Ms. Anne Lauvergeon.

While France today faces some very real difficulties, it can nevertheless draw upon numerous key strengths: this was the underlying message the IFA and Deloitte were keen to pass on. In this respect, the quality of the discussions and the enthousiasm of the participants ensured the success of this inaugural “Investment Attractiveness Breakfast”. The tone has already been set for the next working breakfast, due to take place in the first three months of 2014.