The Nord-Pas-de-Calais Gazette🇧🇷 The year 2022 was rich: Exotec’s record collection – 335 million dollars -, that of EuraTechnologies with 24 M€… Is Hauts-de-France a true digital region?
Koussée Vaneecke🇧🇷 It is clear that Hauts-de-France is a digital-friendly region. We can mention our unicorns, Exotec and OVHcloud, the start-ups labeled FrenchTech Next40/120 (VadeSecure, Anywr ex-Cooptalis, Innovafeed), but also the loyalty of the FIC (International Cybersecurity Forum) which gathers around 13,000 participants in Lille Grand Palais . Cybersecurity is also a real force in the region and Cyber Campus activities have already started.
What will it consist of and when will it open?
This is the first Cyber Campus Hauts-de-France Lille Métropole with training offers, but also a significant investment in a cyber outreach, this state-of-the-art equipment for CISOs (In charge of Information Systems Security) and CIOs ( Director of IT Services) who can simulate an attack and detect weaknesses in an architecture to make it more efficient.
The CyberCampus is currently located in Le Blan-Lafont, but will take over the Wenov building during an opening during FIC 2023. The idea is to have a single cyber portal for the Hauts-de-France and equip VSEs/SMEs and FTEs. You should know that 80% of SMEs that suffer an attack close within two years. The problem is crucial.
EuraTechnologies is already well established in cybersecurity topics with the FALC (Fintech, Assurtech, LegalTech and Cybersecurity) incubator.
Indeed, we also launched an incubator dedicated exclusively to cybersecurity in October 2022 with five start-ups already incubated. Cyber risk is exploding exponentially, we want companies to integrate it. We will also host a CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team), a processing center with an emergency cell, housed on the Cyber Campus and which will be operated by the CITC, starting in April 2023.
What are the next challenges for the start-ups you incubate?
Already, the shortage of talent. It’s not a surprise. Our recent study carried out by EY and in partnership with the MEL, the Banque des Territoires and the Hauts-de-France region, shows that 72% of digital companies have difficulty recruiting in the region while we are one of the largest university centers in France. Among the sectors in tension, we can mention the development and security of IT, but also the sale of IT products.
Is it a matter of training?
Many efforts have been made, mainly to attract women: I think, for example, of the requalification courses offered by Rocket School or the return to work program Invest in Digital People. If 60% of managers consider that training in the regions is adequate, a quarter believe that it is necessary to constantly be at the forefront and that, therefore, it is difficult to find talent. There is also the problem of retaining talent and it is our role to be able to offer this international response to companies, but also to integrate these start-ups from outside the Hauts-de-France. Today, a third of EuraTechnologies’ start-ups are international, whereas a year ago they were almost non-existent.
And the second question?
Our startup managers have placed environmental impact as an essential selection criterion for the projects we are going to incubate. The impact of digital in the region is 1.7 million tons of COtwo of which 80% exclusively related to terminals (screens, telephones, etc.). So there’s a lot of effort to be done! Of the 140 startups registered in October in our last promotion, a third offers decarbonization solutions.
Among the incubated projects, 30% are led by women. Are you moving in the right direction?
In 2021, we were at 17%, so yes, there is an increase, but it requires a lot of attention on our part and we had made it a goal. We need relays and female figures in tech to lead by example.
EuraTechnologies raised 24 million euros this summer with the arrival of the Mulliez family and Entreprises et Cités in its capital.
I arrived in a mature ecosystem, which thought about the international market from the beginning with the partnership with Stanford University. Fundraising helps speed things up and support new generations of startups. Our challenge? To work even better, to ensure the international but also the recruitment. Being an entrepreneur is a personal and social commitment that you make all the time, even at night. We are here to save you time. It should be noted, however, that only 35% of supported project leaders end up creating their own business. So, yes, we can be tough, even very tough, but we shouldn’t waste time.