France wants to be at the forefront as a location for innovation. The founders in Baden-Württemberg looked at the very French combination of fiber optics and a culture of indulgence – and the French president who sees start-ups as the key to competitiveness.
Work like God in France? In any case, the large hall at the world’s largest start-up center, Station F, is reserved exclusively for leisure and French savoir-vivre. Brightly painted, abandoned train carriages serve as culinary highlights amidst the lush vegetation of this former freight depot in the heart of Paris. And the shelf for cocktail alcohol, reaching up to the hall, is as record-breaking as the center, which houses 1000 companies. Whether it’s a designer couch or expensive works of art: life is not only about work, it’s also about joy, it’s the message of Paris.
Creativity requires more than efficiency
For the first time since the coronavirus crisis, the start-up tour “Bawukommen”, backed by the state government and some sponsors, traveled to Paris – and here he learned that creativity may need more than pragmatic effectiveness. “We’ll definitely learn something from this,” says Yannick Haldenwanger, a member of the Offenburg delegation who, as a startup expert, creates a business incubator for the region there.
The country was promoting the fact that French President Emmanuel Macron spent three hours in the last phase of his election campaign for the country’s parliament to visit the large technology fair Vivatechnology, which in recent years has been the main showcase of the new culture of innovation. During his five-year tenure, Macron said he wanted to build 25 billion French companies: “We managed 27!” Round numbers, bright announcements.
France is catching up
France shows how dynamically it is possible to catch up with start-ups, if politicians treat it as an absolute priority. For about half a decade, France has appeared more and more on the start-up map – and shows Germany some deficits.
While the rules of the game in the Federal Republic of Germany often differ from state to state, and Berlin grapples with 16 states for competence, the French central government in a country traditionally considered rather hostile to entrepreneurs is systematically introducing more and more laws and regulations. friendly for founders from a single source, especially for foreign entrepreneurs.
Help in the bureaucratic jungle
An umbrella brand called French Tech was formed, now with offices across the country as the first point of contact to lead the founders through the jungle of French bureaucracy. In all offices important for the founders, pilots have been appointed to ensure that the specific situation of the founders is taken into account when solving problems and ensure that the matter is resolved quickly. “French Tech is the only central point of contact for all matters, especially for foreign founders,” says Eric Morand, startup expert at Business France: “From bureaucracy and visas to work permits for spouses and international school for children.” .
The province also benefits
A central goal of the national strategy is also to spread the entrepreneurial spirit beyond Paris. And this is how a startup life cycle has developed in France that cannot be emulated in Germany: “The founders gather their first ideas everywhere, even in the provinces. Everyone goes to Paris for funds, inspiration, networking, recruiting the first employees. And when it then goes from creation to production, that area is then outsourced to the provinces while the core team remains in Paris, says Paul de Rosen of A-Venture startup support.
Key fiber infrastructure
And thanks to teleworking, it is increasingly becoming a model that compensates for the disadvantages of Paris in terms of housing and living costs, without losing the advantages of a bustling metropolis, where, unlike Germany, all funds for the development of start-ups appropriate infrastructure for all technologies and thematic areas is in one place. “The decisive advantage of France is that, with a good fiber network, it no longer matters where someone works,” says Sébastien Kaiser, head of development at the Paris-based IT company Shadow.