Research, Development and Innovation Clubs: international dialogue and mutual aid
Within France’s embassies abroad, the Science and Technology Department works hand in hand with the Economic Section on running Research, Development and Innovation Clubs (RDI Clubs) that bring together the representatives of French laboratories and companies operating abroad. These regular meetings are organised as a forum for informal dialogue on the conditions governing RD activities in the host country, with discussions addressing issues such as the tax environment, human resources, intellectual property, innovation and research funding policies, etc.
The aim of the initiative is to forge links between French businesses and public research laboratories operating in a particular country. By enabling participants to share their experiences, the meetings aim to contribute to the success of French firms operating, or looking to establish an operation, in the country, and to foster opportunities for public-private collaboration.
In China, regular RDI Club meetings are organised in Shanghai, Beijing and Canton, focusing on a guest speaker invited to share his or her experiences with the meeting.
The RDI Club in India was launched in 2012, starting out with a group of 25 participating firms. The first meetings were held in Delhi and Mumbai.
In Japan, the Embassy Science and Technology Department organises regular themed seminars attended by academic experts and leading industrialists from France and Japan. The meetings provide an opportunity to promote French technology to the Japanese RD community in key target areas.
In 2012, the Consulate of France in San Francisco launched the French hi-tech network in Silicon Valley, in a format specifically tailored to the local context. It organises monthly themed events for young French entrepreneurs based in Silicon Valley and graduates of French universities and grandes écoles working in the region.
NETVA and YEI programmes
NETVANETVA (New Technology Venture Accelerator) is a programme designed to help innovative start-ups emerging from the incubator phase or using technology developed through the French research system to take their first steps on the international stage. In order to help these fledgling companies optimise their strategy in advance and prepare them for a move into the US market, NETVA offers three key components:
- training for successful applicants, provided by French and American entrepreneurs;
- networking with carefully selected partners: universities, companies, law firms;
- mentoring and personalised advice from an entrepreneur or technical expert in the field.
Originally based in Boston, NETVA extended its scope of operations to San Francisco in 2012 and doubled the number of start-ups selected (10 successful applicants in 2012, divided equally between the two centres).
For more information:
YEi (Young Entrepreneurs Initiative) is a programme set up to help innovative US start-ups in France. Its aims are to:
- promote the creation of innovative start-ups in France by researchers/entrepreneurs based in the USA;
- circulate information on French policy and tools for supporting innovation;
- encourage dialogue between the scientific, industrial and investment communities in the two countries as a means of stimulating entrepreneurial ecosystems.
As of 2012, YEi offers three services, tailored to the profile and needs of each technology start-up:
- the Annual Competition selects the best start-ups and provides them with a three-stage booster programme: training, assistance with mobility and personalised mentoring for a one-year period, including access to one of the innovation centres operated by RETIS, the French network for innovation;
- the Deal provides individual coaching for innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs to help prepare their development project in France;
- the Academy provides US entrepreneurs with information on the workings of the innovation system in France and Europe through training courses organised in the USA.
Institut Pasteur Shanghai’s Advance BioChina global biotech accelerator
The Advance BioChina global biotech accelerator set up by the Institut Pasteur Shanghai offers global biotech firms a secure and competitive framework through which to approach the Chinese market.
A survey conducted by the Institut Pasteur Shanghai (IPS) in 2011 of a sample of 100 NASDAQ-listed international biotech firms found that while 70% of them had development programmes relevant to China, only 20% were really positioned in the market.
Yet the advantages of development in China are undeniable: a rapidly expanding potential market for pharmaceuticals (predicted to become the world’s 2nd largest market by 2020), real savings still to be made by manufacturing in China and the presence of local venture capital investors. There are still a number of risk factors to be considered, however: imperfect intellectual property protection, language barriers, difficulty in accurately assessing market potential, complex regulatory issues and, above all, the difficulty of finding the right partner.
It was to help overcome such obstacles that the Institut Pasteur de Shanghai created its Advance BioChina (ABC) global accelerator in March 2011, to promote international innovation in China on behalf of biotech and public health firms. ABC is modelled on Pasteur BioTop, the biotech business incubator set up by the Institut Pasteur in Paris in 2000 to help young start-ups by providing the best of scientific, technical, industrial and financial support to catalyse a new research dynamic that will create jobs in the future.
Advance BioChina’s objective is to identify and develop up to 10 firms over the next three years in the form of joint ventures (between the start-ups and ABC) based in Shanghai. The development budget allocated to each firm will be of the order of €1.5 million to €3 million over an incubation period of three to five years. The assistance provided by the incubator will take a variety of forms: technical expertise, access to laboratories and hospitals, advice on the protection of intellectual property.
Advance BioChina is a strategic initiative by the Institut Pasteur Shanghai to expand its development and global reach, and will further strengthen the Institute’s position in the biotech innovation market.
For more information:
Advance BioChina website
Bond’innov: aid for innovative entrepreneurs in the global South (intertropical region, developing and Mediterranean regions)
Bond’innov is a business incubator based in Seine-Saint-Denis that was set up to assist innovative projects and support business start-up concepts in both the North and South.
Its mission is to help commercialise the results of research carried out in the global South and disseminate innovations in the North that may also be of interest to the countries of the South. Bond’innov is chaired by the Research Institute for Development (IRD).
An initial call for proposals was issued in 2012 for all project initiators or managers of innovative start-ups seeking incubator services. The non-exclusive themes cover innovation in the fields of health and biotechnology, the social and cooperative economy, sustainable development and the environment.
Bond’innov is the first initiative in France to support start-up projects for markets in the global South.
Bond’innov currently has five firms in the incubator stage.
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