The protest movement of “yellow vests” threatens the start-up nation so dear to Emmanuel Macron? Visiting Paris this week to promote young tricolors with foreign investors, John Chambers, the iconic former boss of Cisco and current ambassador of French tech internationally, did not seem discouraged by the social climate which has been shaking the hex for three weeks.
For this promotional tour, Mr. Chambers was accompanied by about forty venture capitalists and foreign investors who came to discover the promising young French shoots. The program of this seduction operation planned for a long time, a meeting with Emmanuel Macron. The meeting that took place Thursday, December 6 was an opportunity for the President to reassure investors and reaffirm France's ambitions on the tech scene. Mr. Macron, however, ignored the dinner, taken by the business of the moment.
France has the qualities to give birth to “next Facebook”
To begin with these “yellow vests”, with which the Start-up nation has no good reputation. In fact, the former boss of Cisco notes that in France – as in the United States – the digital economy seems to benefit for the moment a minority of individuals, largely concentrated in Paris. Beyond this regional imbalance, which must be corrected – “You have to be more inclusive” -, it is above all an educational work which must be carried out, according to him. “Talking about a start-up nation is about creating jobs today and tomorrow; there is an opportunity to seize and if we do not seize it, after, it will be too late. “
In his eyes, France has the qualities to give birth to “Next Facebook”, with a quality education system and a spirit of entrepreneurship that is spreading more and more: “Today, eight out of ten Polytechnique students dream of working in a start-up”.
The worst, according to him, is that France, which for several years has been particularly proactive in digitizing its economy, is losing sight of its objective, under the pressure of those who “Call for a new government every year or a review of tax policies”. “We can not succeed if we only think in the short term”said the man who would willingly bet on Paris as the capital of European tech in five to seven years. A speech probably more audible by Emmanuel Macron than by the “yellow vests”.