Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron wants to make his country the next technology hub and has launched a new technology visa programme to lure in international talent.
Speaking at the Viva Tech conference in Paris, the French president outlined how his government aimed to cut down on regulations that would make it easier for foreign talent to work and support start-ups with money, in order to make France a “country of unicorns”.
“I want France to attract new entrepreneurs, new researchers, and be the nation for innovation and start-ups,” Macron said while speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the event.
The new visa programme will allow start-up founders, employees and investors to obtain a residence permit in France known as the “talent passport”. The residence permit will be valid for four years and can be extended to immediate family members.
The French president highlighted the country’s lack of a conducive environment for new talent which often leaves for other markets. “The bet of the future for us is to carry on educating our talents, taking our students to the highest levels of academic success. We must defend our educational model, we must help our students go further,” Macron said, adding that if they end up going to another country, “they must come back, because here is where the future lies.”
The French president also took the occasion to put forward a proposal for European Venture Fund that can support start-ups and the need for the Digital Single Market – a European Commission policy that aims to harmonise rules from streaming services to roaming charges.
“I will ensure that we create a most attractive and creative environment, I will ensure that the state and government acts as a platform and not a constraint,” Macron said.