Is Macron’s start-up nation strategy working?
Is President Macron’s start-up nation strategy for France starting to deliver? Because in the last week alone both IBM and Uber have announced high-profile innovation projects in the country.
First up IBM, which has unveiled a set of French initiatives in France to create 1,800 jobs over the next two years in areas such as AI, blockchain, cloud computing and IoT. The company wants to hire consultants, IT architects, developers and technical experts, including both new graduates and experienced professionals. The 1,800 new jobs include the 400 AI-related roles IBM announced in March.
IBM is also partnering with the French government on the company's P-TECH education model, created in 2011 to provide young people – primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds – with ‘new collar’ skills. By September, P-TECH will be in nearly 120 schools in four countries and is on track to prepare more than 75,000 students for new collar work.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has also name-checked the French leader. "President Macron is making a big bet, and a smart one, that AI is going to transform every job, every profession and every industry," he said.
And Uber says it will open its R&D hub outside the US, with Paris the chosen location. The ride-hailing outfit is looking to invest €20m over five years developing technologies to support its Uber Elevate flying-car programme at the Advanced Technology Center Paris.
“With world-class engineers and a leading role in global aviation, France is the perfect place to advance our Uber Elevate programme and new technology initiatives," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.
Uber is also partnering with the prestigious École Polytechnique to endow an ‘Integrated Urban Mobility’ research chair. The latter’s researchers will collaborate with the company on projects around aviation and electric transportation.