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French President Emmanuel Macron hosted more than 100 entrepreneurs at his presidential palace on Monday evening, where he laid out his government’s plans to dedicate an extra €7bn in funds to support startups and the digital economy.
He cited artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing as priorities for where the government will spend its money. Of the announced €7bn, €3.7bn will go to reinforcing startups financing, including through Bpifrance, Macron said.
“We need breakthrough innovation, and we can’t expect only private investors will make that happen,” Macron said. “Quantum, AI, cybersecurity need state money, because they’re capital intensive as well as critical.”
Macron also hailed French entrepreneurs’ resilience through Covid-19, and expressed congratulations to the ecosystem for closing part of the gap with the UK on financing. French startups raised €2.7bn in the first quarter, he said.
“We’ve shown we’re a country that can spawn startups as well as grow them into unicorns,” Macron said. “You, as entrepreneurs, showed great resilience through Covid, and with bigger rounds we’ve caught up part of our lateness, including relative to the UK.”
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