As estimated by the French Direction Générale des Entreprises, France has between 10 000 and 20 000 young innovative start-up companies and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic these start-ups created nearly 25 000 jobs. To support the financing needs of tech companies the French government has created a so-called Plan de Soutien aux Enterprises Technologiques (Support Plan for Tech Companies). This fund of up to almost €1.2 billion is primarily targeted at start-up companies developing future technologies and aims to ensure their sovereignty. The fund is available for start-ups in France that develop new technologies and for whom the investment risk is high. Examples of these technologies mentioned are artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and medical technologies.
This support fund is a follow-up plan from the €4 billion emergency plan rolled out in April 2020 aimed at start-ups impacted by the crisis. The new fund has five areas of support. Each area has specific measures, including investments and loans:
- Launch of the French Tech Sovereignty fund to support businesses developing the future technologies with an initial budget of €150 million to support tech companies to keep their sovereignty. This budget may be further increased in 2021 and could reach €500 million.
- Funding support for technology businesses which includes cash flow support and a loan scheme. This support also includes additional funding to support new start-ups which have won the Global Innovation Competition and a reinforcement of support programmes (iNov innovation competition and AI Challenges).
- Support for a new breeding ground for start-ups, consisting of new support measures enabling technology projects to incubate and mature. This includes financing for technology transfer acceleration companies and programs that support deep tech entrepreneurship.
- Identification of future support measures. A call for contributions from businesses and public to identify measures to be maintained or to be developed that will allow digital technologies to be developed more swiftly. This consultation ran until July 2020 and findings will be presented before the end of the year.
- Recruitment support through information campaigns including an online platform and an advertising campaign on job opportunities in the French tech market.
The ATI project provides a mapping of Technology Centres on its website with detailed knowledge and experience in the 16 defined advanced technologies. These Technology Centres are potential partners for start-ups and SMEs active in advanced technologies to support to take the next step in adopting new advanced technologies.