President Macron at Startup event

Macron pushes for 10 €100bn tech companies by 2030

Image credit: Yoan Valat/Pool via Reuters

The French President Emmanuel Macron has outlined an ambitious target for Europe to compete with the US by nurturing the establishment of 10 technology companies each valued at €100bn (£86bn) by 2030.

While the Europe region is home to many of the world’s best-regarded research institutions and other centres of technical expertise, the world’s largest technology companies are based in the US and East Asia. EU leaders hope to support the translation of research to commercial application, with a particular focus on developing its own supply chains for semiconductors, quantum information, and other critical technologies.

France is leading a regional effort to boost funding for start-ups, particularly in later stages of growth, in order to attract more attractive investors and employees and propel them into competition with large established companies.

Macron has advocated making France a “start-up nation” since entering office in 2017. However, his efforts to support the creation of “unicorns” (start ups worth at least $1bn) remain overshadowed by US equivalents. Last year, Macron said he expected France to have 25 unicorns by 2025 (an increase from 15 in 2021 and three in 2017).

“In France, we have a record that allows us to say it’s incredible,” said Macron, speaking at the Elysée Palace, which was hosting an event for European start-ups.  It was attended by around 100 investors and entrepreneurs, and a dozen ministers.

The 'Scale-Up' group, which brings together European start-ups, presented 21 of its own recommendations for growing tech companies to Macron’s office, some of which were taken on. For instance, Macron has endorsed its recommendation to implement a “European tech visa” for ease of movement across the region.

Macron hopes to produce 10 technology companies with market caps of €100bn (£86bn) by the end of the decade: around the size of Zoom, Uber, or Snap. The target is based on recommendations from a study group.

The scheme includes a ramping up of funding schemes through EU-wide finances and by encouraging more venture capital funds to invest in start-ups, according to a manifesto signed by around 200 businesses. The scheme recommends updating EU regulations and creating more competitive stock option schemes to help technology companies expand. It also will provide support for “deeptech” – technology which relies heavily on new science and engineering – by giving the European Innovation Council a larger role.

The scheme will feed into France’s digital agenda for its EU Council presidency, which commences in January 2022. Macron said at the event that France would deliver new regulations during the presidency: “There is no sovereignty without local champions. The first sovereignty is industrial, business-related. The second one is regulation and the two go together. Without regulation, there are no standards.”

He added that Europe must: “Strengthen the single market, build an actual digital single market, finish the job for market capital and financing of the economy.”

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