To remember, the 3 key points addressed by Maxime Guillaud, CEO @INSKIP, in reaction to the "France 2030" funding plan:
📆 The current government deals with innovation in fits and starts, depending on the crises and electoral deadlines that mark the calendar. Innovation deserves a proactive, long-term approach.
👊 Since the last 5 years, we have observed more porosity between start-ups and industrialists, through dedicated investment structures, R&D partnerships and support programs. This porosity will continue to grow.
💥 Local authorities have a clear role to play in certain sectors but are not mentioned in the "France 2030" funding plan. Yet they shined in their ability to innovate during the health crisis, and they also play a role in funding innovation. To be pushed.
Maxime Guillaud, founder of Inskip and an expert in innovation strategy, deciphers the "France 2030" financing plan unveiled by Emmanuel Macron, which calls for €30 billion to €50 billion in investments for industrial subsidiaries.
What can this plan achieve ?
Maxime Guillaud: First of all, we should welcome such a plan, even if its outlines remain relatively vague for the time being. Apart from the amount of investment and the sectors concerned (nuclear, renewable energies, transport, health), it is difficult to understand how Emmanuel Macron proposes to "rediscover a virtuous cycle: innovate, produce, export", or as he puts it, "reconcile startups and industry". We can guess that the main thing is the invention of innovative products (mini-nuclear reactors, bio-medicines, low-carbon airplanes, etc.), but how they will emerge is the question. Is it only a question of means? I doubt it.The objective of this plan for the President is first of all to make innovation a driving force for the national economy and a lever to reinforce our sovereignty on subjects such as energy or health. His challenge is to support sectors (nuclear, health), which in the past have shone in exports and driven French growth, but which today are in a more fragile position, or are even clearly lagging behind.
Investment in industrial research, development of start-ups and the creation of new sectors: what will "France 2030" change for entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs are the beneficiaries of this plan, but they have not been involved in its definition. This is a sad paradox that reveals the way innovation is treated by the current government: from the top down, in fits and starts, depending on the crises and electoral deadlines that mark the calendar. Innovation deserves a proactive, long-term approach. In recent years, it has been treated in a reactive way, at most in the medium term.In this context, entrepreneurs will probably organize themselves and be a force of proposal, forming new types of alliances between start-ups and manufacturers, to gain in agility. 2030 is 8 years away (the money will only start to be released in 2022), which is relatively short for the aviation, health or nuclear sectors. To succeed, companies will need to have the means, but also and above all to be creative in the way they work and collaborate.Take the example of Sanofi, which invested 80 million euros in Biontech in January 2019, and which has not been able to release a vaccine yet : tomorrow, investment and R&D policies will be more closely coupled, and industrial players will have to demonstrate great proactivity in their strategic choices, no longer simply to position themselves on emerging technologies, but to show themselves to be pioneers in markets that are moving ever faster.
How is entrepreneurship in France ?
Based on recent fundraisings (Sorare, Contentsquare, Mirakl), extraordinarily well. But we should not rely only on that. The amount of recent fundraisings is directly linked to the economic situation, which is very favorable.Entrepreneurship has well-developed financing and support structures. However, there are two areas that need to be strengthened: links with research, with SATs that still sometimes work in isolation and that need to open up to networks and markets; and links with large groups, with the wider and more systematic implementation of investment and support structures within industrial players.Moreover, local authorities clearly have a role to play in certain sectors. They are not mentioned in this announcement. However, they have shone through their ability to innovate during the health crisis, and they also play a role in financing innovation.
Does the government really support innovation ?
We remember the Artificial Intelligence plan communicated as part of the stimulus package. This plan reminds us of one thing: that what is called digital is no longer and should no longer be treated as a separate field: for two decades now, software has been gradually devouring the world. They determine and inform the vast majority of tomorrow's innovations. This is true for AI, but also for other extremely structuring subjects linked to blockchain, which impact many fields such as finance, law and industry.France, on AI as well as blockchain, shines by its talents but also by its incapacity to make international leaders emerge. We need to be aware of this, and realize that the solution lies in a combination of additional resources, a policy favorable to breakthrough innovations (especially in the case of blockchain) and the establishment of structuring partnerships between startups and large groups.
What will the French industrial ecosystem look like in 5 years ?
I don't know what the industrial innovation ecosystem will look like in 5 years. However, I have observed a basic trend over the last 5 years that is moving towards greater porosity between start-ups and industrial companies, through dedicated investment structures, R&D partnerships and support programs. This porosity will continue to grow.
Can we combine SSE and innovation ?
This is a necessary combination, because innovation must now have positive externalities on society and the environment. Conversely, our societies need innovation to be more sustainable.We talk a lot about impact innovation, but any innovation today must take into account its impact on society and the environment. Investors are starting to take this into account, as are local authorities. It remains perhaps to encourage SSE actors by helping them to value the positive externalities they produce.
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