The protest movement of "yellow jackets" threatens the start-up nation so dear to Emmanuel Macron? Visiting Paris this week to promote young Italians with foreign investors, John Chambers, the iconic former head of Cisco and current ambassador of French technology internationally, does not seem to be discouraged by the social climate that is shaking the hexagon for three weeks.
For this promotional tour, Mr. Chambers was accompanied by about forty venture capitalists and foreign investors who came to discover the promising young French shots. The program of this seduction operation has been planned for a long time, a meeting with Emmanuel Macron. The meeting which took place on Thursday 6 December was an opportunity for the President to reassure investors and reaffirm France's ambitions on the technology scene. Mr. Macron, however, ignored the dinner, taken from the affairs of the moment.
France has the qualities to give birth to "the next Facebook"
To begin with these "yellow jackets", with which the nation of Start-up does not have a good reputation. In fact, the former head of Cisco notes that in France – as in the United States – the digital economy seems to benefit at the moment of a minority of individuals, largely concentrated in Paris. Beyond this regional imbalance, which must be corrected – "You must be more inclusive" – it is above all an educational work that must be done, according to him. "Speaking of a start-up nation means creating jobs today and tomorrow, and there is an opportunity to seize and if we do not take it later it will be too late."
In his eyes, France has the qualities to give birth "Next Facebook", with a quality education system and an entrepreneurial spirit that is spreading more and more: "Today, eight out of ten Polytechnique students dream of working in a start-up".
The worst, according to him, would be that France, which for several years has been particularly proactive in digitizing its economy, is losing sight of its objective, under the pressure of those who "Ask for a new government every year or a review of tax policies". "We can not succeed if we think only in the short term"said the man who would voluntarily bet on Paris as the capital of European technology in five to seven years. A speech probably more audible by Emmanuel Macron than by "yellow jackets".