After only taking France’s top job on the 14th of May this year, the new, young (39 years old) President, Emmanuel Macron has made an important speech to the audience at VivaTech.
The President’s speech was a half pitch, half rally cry to startups, entrepreneurs and investors to work together and make France the place where people want to start their next big business. He says the Government will support the technology investment with tax breaks, removing red tape and even announced the new Technology Visa (valid for 4 years) is now available. This new type of Visa is designed to allow companies to bring in talent from across the globe and not face hurdles they do today.
Macron delivered a passionate speech, one that should motivate existing startups to stay here, rather than leave for the US and potentially attract new startups to Paris and more generally France.
What was impressive is that Macron spent more than hour, swamped by large crowds, walking around the show floor and meeting startups before taking the stage for the speech. It demonstrates a real belief in the startup culture here and in technology being able to assist the Government to be more efficient.
It seems like France faces a similar brain drain with technology companies that want to hit global scale, similar to that of Australia. Sure, some of the Government levers that are needed to execute on the promises delivered in the speech won’t be easy, politics never are, but he seems like a man that could get it done.
To see the leader of a country, on stage and delivering a speech that included AI and IoT was a great thing and something Australia could definitely benefit from. Someone with Prime Minister Turnbull’s resume you’d think would be ripe for it, but can’t seem to get it done.
Only time will tell if Macron can turn Paris into the startup capital of the world, but when he tells people here they should be proud, very proud and that they can be as good as Silicon Valley, then its an incredibly strong message that gives them the best chance. It’s a massive signal to startups, but investors as well that the Government will support you in implementing technology that helps the world.