TechInAfrica — 22 on Sloane start-up campus has welcomed the French community, celebrating the launch of La French Tech Johannesburg last week.
French Ambassador to South Africa, Aurelien Lechevallier, attended the event along with the MMC for the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Leah Knot, French tech leaders Christophe Viarnaud and Antoine Paillusseau and about 200 guests.
La French Tech is France’s start-up ecosystem initiative backed by the government. La French Tech Johannesburg allows a new community of Johannesburg start-ups joining a network of more than 50 cities globally, providing support for tech entrepreneurship.
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Since the selection of Cape Town as one of the 21 international French tech hubs in 2016, with many start-ups founded by French nationals in South Africa, La French Tech’s activity has been enterprising in South Africa.
Through La French Tech, France and South Africa are bridging their ecosystems, making close collaborations possible between French and South African entrepreneurs and opening beneficial business opportunities.
The development of the French tech community in Johannesburg will provide collaborated support from the French Corporate and Investor Community. It will also mean that there will be more investment from French tech companies in the South African digital economy.
South Africa houses over 370 French businesses that employ over 65,000 people, with the majority in the Gauteng region, the traditional business hub of South Africa and generally the continent.
Commenting at the launch, Lechevallier mentioned that the major priority for the French government was innovation.
President Emmanuel Macron has adopted a strong and ambitious plan of action to help France succeed in leading the innovation ecosystem in Europe, aligned with its industrial and scientific history.
The eco-innovation systems development is also an important priority of France’s co-operation policy, particularly with Africa. Launched in March 2019 by Macron, The Choose Africa program is a strong signal, with some €2.5bn (R40.64bn) to be invested in Africa by 2022, including €65 million to support the start-up development.
The commitment of the French Embassy in South Africa is part of these priorities. There are many collaboration opportunities as well as actions implemented in the areas of digital, artificial intelligence, robotics and, more broadly, technology transfer, meet common challenges on which they will continue to work.
22 on Sloane start-up campus will work hand-in-hand with both private and public sectors onwards. They committed to create and foster a strong African start-up culture, develop better support mechanisms for the continent’s start-ups, and build an enabling and supporting environment.