Start-Up Nation: Macron releases 500 million euros to encourage researchers to launch startups

True to his convictions, Emmanuel Macron is a firm believer in the idea that France must become the leading startup nation in Europe. To this end, the French Head of State does not skimp on means to provide significant financial support to this very promising sector. And on January 9, a €500 million envelope was launched by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research “to bring to light more start-ups resulting from research”. The announcement of this novelty was made in a press release. invites you to read the press release in its original version

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“To reinforce the impact of scientific and technological discoveries on the economy and society as a whole, the President of the Republic recalled France’s ambitions in terms of innovation. This translates in particular to a goal of creating 100 unicorns and 500 deeptech start-ups per year by 2030.

The Government has strongly mobilized around this ambition, namely within the framework of the implementation of the “France 2030” plan. With 54 billion euros applied over 5 years, it aims to develop industrial competitiveness and the technologies of the future. Their actions are bearing fruit and the intermediate goal of 25 unicorns has been reached in 2022. The creation of 250 deeptech start-ups in 2021 is also a sign of acceleration in the innovation dynamic.

However, France’s ambition in terms of innovation requires a change of gear. The reflection of the innovation behind each scientific discovery is still not systematic, and the flow of creation of start-ups resulting from the research falls short of its full potential. By way of comparison, one company is a search result for every $51 million of academic spending in the US versus $94 million in France.

To allow for this increase in power, Ms. Sylvie Retailleau, Minister for Higher Education and Research, and Mr. Roland Lescure, Minister Delegate in charge of Industry, detailed today from Nancy the reinforcement of the Government’s actions around three pillars:

  • The establishment of twenty-five University Innovation Centers (PUI) to share a collective framework of commitment. The objective is to have behind each scientific discovery the reflection of innovation, being close to the research teams, on a university scale, providing it with an innovation strategy, a unique governance and agile means. €160 million will be mobilized to maximize development potential. Without creating an additional legal framework, PUIs capitalize on existing structures to strengthen their coordination, in line with university headquarters policies developed elsewhere.
  • The acceleration of the deeptech plan, strengthening existing actions (i-Lab, French Tech emergency grant, Deeptech development assistance) and the implementation of additional actions (creation of the French Tech Lab grant). An additional €65 million is mobilized.
  • Reinforce the promotion of work resulting from research and thematic research programs (PEPR). 275 million euros are mobilized around 17 projects that are selected within the framework of the Maturation/Pre-maturation competition to structure, at the level of national strategies, the detection capacity and support for the enhancement of research. The winners rely on local actors and provide specific and portfolio actions: patent portfolio, standardization and regulatory support to meet the specificities of each sector.

These three actions, operated by Bpifrance and ANR, represent an investment of 500 million euros, within the framework of France 2030 and the Research Programming Law (LPR). They will make it possible to connect academic research and the socioeconomic world to develop solutions for the challenges of our time and France in 2030. In addition, the creation of a fund specifically dedicated to deeptech and endowed with 100 million euros will allow the State to provide support equity to these start-ups, once created in different stages of development.

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