Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron received a standing ovation while telling French startups and digital professionals in Paris that he wanted the country to be one where new digital companies could innovate, describing France as a 'startup nation.'
On the day when he introduced a new Tech Visa to allow professionals to request the right to work within the country for up to four years, Macron addressed the delegates of Publicis' Viva Technology conference to offer his vision of a France that was led by entrepreneurial spirit, fostered by his tax cuts to allow them to succeed and remain in the country.
Macron cited both technological entrepreneurship and environmental technology as two of his priorities to develop under his presidency, having walked among several of the exhibition stands and speaking to the tech companies who were in the central area of the conference room.
"Today, France is becoming the country where entrepreneurs can be successful and this is what I will bring you in the years to come," he promised, stating that he wanted to foster the movement started over the two years of Viva Technology and challenged it to become 'the new CES,' referencing the US technology event that takes place each January in Las Vegas.
He added that he wants to create an economy that fosters innovation rather than drives successful entrepreneurs to leave the country due to tax burdens through lower start up business rates: "We want to tell them that there will be changes and that there will be winners in these changes."
He told the audience he wants them to be defended in a world that is "innovative and is changing at a speed that had never been imagined before and this is why I to this government to be different in the economic world, not a government which regulates everything but a government that facilitates and therefor a deep reform will introduce this complete change to what we had before. The action of government should not be to regulate and sanction. It should be to help support and facilitate success and this transformation is a conceptual transformation but it will come true because it this is a government that will test, learn and innovate."
He said the need to experiment would need to be recognised in law and that the economy of success would be bred via trial and error and it was a change he would introduce without waiting.
"Let me make this clear. France will be the leading nation of this type of innovation and change...France can be successful. We are a country of engineers, of PHD holding scientists and entrepreneurs and the future for us is to carry on educating and taking our students to be successful academics and we must keep that talent when they sometimes want to move on. They must come back because here is where the future lies."
Having spoken in French in quite a stirring manner, he concluded in English by telling the room that they are welcome to work in the country, telling them "this is the place to be," and adding that France had to change its model and be a nation that worked with start ups and "thinks and moves like a start up."
He added that he wanted the country to "think global" and for the innovators of the world to come there to help it develop new ways of thinking across many sectors, including new energy, while he signed off by stating "entrepreneur is the new France."