French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday outlined an ambitious push for Europe to create 10 technology giants worth 100 billion euros (US$121 billion) each in valuation by 2030, in a bid to rival US companies that dominate the sector.
“We have to build a stronger European ecosystem, and entrepreneurs must push governments to be more efficient than we are,” Macron said in remarks delivered in English and French, while receiving about 100 European investors and entrepreneurs and a dozen ministers at an event aimed at boosting the continent’s digital sector.
“We have to build stronger European champions,” that can compete with global giants based in China and the US, he added.
The goals are part of a Europe-wide initiative France is trying to lead to improve funding for start-ups, especially in their later stages of growth, to propel them into a bigger league where they can attract more investors and top staff.
Macron has pushed to make France into a “start-up nation” since coming to power in 2017, rendering the country more attractive to foreign investors through labor reforms, for example.
However, French efforts to create “unicorns,” or US$1 billion companies, are still overshadowed by US equivalents. Macron last year said that he expected France to have 25 “unicorns” by 2025.
The latest plan to help European start-ups includes ramping up funding schemes through EU-wide finances and by encouraging more venture capital funds to invest, according to a manifesto signed by about 200 businesses, which includes a start-up association and other companies.
They also recommended modernizing regulations in Europe, as well as creating competitive stock option schemes, as part of initiatives to scale up European technology firms.
France is to take over the rotating EU presidency next year and Macron wants to use the opportunity to create a European technical visa to draw foreign talent.
He also wants a common investment market and the mobilization of industrial giants to spur innovation.
Additional reporting by AFP
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