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  • 2017/05/23
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Start me up

The aim of this article is not to promote a Rolling Stones hit but to ponder the future of start-ups in France. Because, in all likelihood, it is these firms that will provide a slew of jobs going forward. And because Emmanuel Macron seems to be very much a President 2.0, everything ought to go smoothly.

That said, there are doubts about how Mr Macron will view small businesses. But a glance at some recent figures should convince him to go after that target. Europe seems to be the driving force behind financial start-ups. An article in Les Echos explains how Internet start-ups betting on insurance technology and regulatory innovation are attracting funding. The other bit of good news is that France is ahead of the game in this regard.

Venture capitalists are taking a keen interest in RegTech firms, which, according to a top business daily, “simply offer to provide support for financial institutions dealing with regulatory issues”.  The paper goes on to say that investment in InsurTech doubled between 2015 and 2016.

Companies specialising in artificial intelligence are also highly attractive. They open up new horizons for financial firms – and sometimes scare the living daylights out of banks.

Though investment is slowing in other parts of the world, Europe in general and France in particular have plenty going for them. What the figures say, and what this situation suggests, is that the new government should pay close attention, at a time when the market impact of Macron’s election is fading. On the whole, companies’ earnings publications have beaten expectations by some 5%, Europe has momentum behind it, and above-forecast growth is expected at year’s end. Meanwhile, analysts are scrutinising the first steps taken by France’s new government in order to understand how it will roll out its economic war machine. At the same time, it will almost certainly have to legislate on those behind the uberisation of the economy. Clearly, innovation is one of the key issues, along with new entrepreneurial behaviours. This is a thrilling and important moment in time: companies have high expectations, auto-entrepreneurs (freelancers) want to see their status revised, and CEOs of small and midsized companies are calling for another social-security scheme to cover self-employed workers.

Yet this is where the labour pool of the future seems to be the most promising. So yes, a lot is expected of a young president who kindled great hopes. Banks are watching intently. And some financial bloggers are actually saying “it’s now or never”. Let’s go ahead and say it: now would be great!

Christian Moguérou

Sources: Le Figaro Economie, Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, Le Monde, Le Point, Les Echos…

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