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Growing a startup: the Parisian accelerators

Having an idea. Building a project. Going from startup to scale up. Entrepreneurs are living an adventure with accelerators, incubators or fablabs. On Wednesday, 28 June, a delegation of Belgian entrepreneurs went to meet the French initiatives helping startups and scale ups. With the collaboration of BECI, Brussels Creative and BNP Paribas Fortis, Co-Station organized a one day trip to Paris.

We were 100 visitors at the first stop of the day: Region Paris Entreprise, Paris&Co and Business France welcomed us. Their goal is to boost employment and investments both in the region Ile-de-France and in the city of Paris. They promote, accompany and help develop both French and foreign companies. One representative from each company took the stage to talk about the programs and networks they have and use to facilitate the development of new projects.

After this introductory presentation, the Scaling Up track left to visit other initiatives in Paris. With a group of 25 entrepreneurs, we went to NUMA Paris to share useful insights with us. Over 16 years, NUMA has advised hundreds of corporates, produced high achieving startups and contributed to create over 1.000 jobs.

They are launching a program with Station F, the biggest incubator recently opened in Paris, to host foreign mature startups and help them launch series A. NUMA Paris is moving forward and is the place to do so.

Next stop was Microsoft where we visited the Campus and learn about Microsoft Cognitive Services and the ways Microsoft manages the AI business transformation.  Microsoft Cognitive Services let you build apps with powerful algorithms to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret our needs using natural methods of communication, with just a few lines of code. The visit was certainly worth the one hour commuting!

The Scaling Up track went back to the centre of Paris, where The Family has its office. The Family is a platform that united entrepreneurs across Europe in Paris, London and Berlin. It aims at educating, incubating and accelerating startups, by building a privileged access to smart investors. It is the place “where anyone can become an entrepreneur”.

Last but not least, the Scaling Up track went to BNP Paribas innovation hubs: WAI (We Are Innovation) and L’Atelier. These incubators have guided more than 2 000 innovatives company in France. They offer both financial support and acceleration programs. We had a chance to see how corporates work alongside startups: mixing advantages of both worlds.

Finally, the Belgian delegation was reunited at the Residence of the Belgian Ambassador, M. Mertens de Wilmars, for a cocktail dinner. This last stop gave us the opportunity to share ideas and network with a cocktail in hand before taking the train back to Brussels with our pockets full of business cards and heads filled with inspiration!