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Paris&Co: showcasing the vitality of the Parisian innovation ecosystem at the CES with ENGIE

Sustainable mobility
24/11/2016

From January 5th to 8th, 2017, Paris & Co will join ENGIE at the CES 2017. We got in touch with Karine Bidart, Co-CEO of Paris & Co, to talk about the partnership and about why Paris & Co has chosen to support ENGIE at this world-famous trade show for innovation.

Hello Karine. Can you give us a brief introduction to Paris & Co?

Paris & Co is Paris’s economic development and innovation agency. We work in 5 major areas that feed upon and reinforce each other, which gives an overall coherence to our mission. These are:

  • Business incubation. We supported 238 startups in 2015. We are the largest incubator in Europe, with 8 sites in Paris, each of which specializes in a key theme for the city, such sustainability. ENGIE is a sponsor of this particular incubator, which covers fields like the future of real estate, urban logistics and mobility, sports, tourism, digital healthcare and well-being, the cultural and creative industries, publishing, and smart food. We also have a website to provide help to startups abroad.
  • Urban experimentation, represented in the Urban Lab, where companies can test their prototypes and services in the city prior to launching a marketing campaign.
  • Open innovation with the Open Innovation Club, which includes members from the 70 largest French companies. We help them build and maintain relationships with startups with the goal of creating business opportunities involving both of them.
  • International attractiveness. This involves prospecting for and supporting internationally-based companies that plan to set up in Paris. If they do not already plan to do so, our goal is to convince them to come and settle there. We are particularly focused on identifying young, innovative companies. Last year, we helped 125 companies establish themselves in Paris, including 96 from abroad, which created more than 5,000 jobs in the capital.
  • The agency's fifth area of activity focuses on events. More than 330 are held every year in a variety of formats, from technical workshops to the Hacking de l'Hôtel de Ville, which involved more than 3000 innovative stakeholders, including many French and international startups.

Paris & Co's goal is to become a global reference for urban innovation by positioning Paris in its rightful place on the international scene. We want to earn greater visibility for our exceptional ecosystem, which is not sufficiently recognized abroad. We support startups in their development phase as well as major companies in creating an open innovation process, while creating the conditions for Paris to become an urban laboratory for testing their solutions.

3 words to define innovation

For Paris & Co, innovation must be:


  • Applied: We work to help startups get to market. For example, when we held the Hacking de l’Hotel de Ville, we set up a major series of meetups between 2,800 people to provide new opportunities to startups
  • Creative of value and/or jobs. By choosing specific themes for our platforms and for the startups we support, we promote innovations that lead to living better in an urban environment, from the “smart city” to the “living city”.
  • Transversal: our conviction is that the richest innovations often happen when talents who are not used to rubbing shoulders are made to do so. We push entrepreneurs, major companies, creatives, researchers, institutions and students to work together and innovate, break down silos, and generate opportunities for joint projects.


What will you be showcasing at the CES?

Being at the CES with ENGIE is a way for us to showcase the enormous energy of the Parisian ecosystem, and to open as many doors as possible for startups. This is why we are going to:

Highlight the talents of the startups we work with, like WeNow. They produce a connected box that allows drivers to measure, reduce and neutralize their CO2 emissions. We will also be showcasing a connected cocoon created by LeetDesign, which aims to make workspaces more attractive and creative.

By highlighting these startups and the collaboration with ENGIE, we also want to demonstrate how innovation takes place in Paris: with nearly 12,000 startups in the Ile-de-France region, a pool of highly skilled workers recognized worldwide for its talent, a dynamic support system that is deeply engaged in encouraging innovation, and the highest concentration of headquarters of large companies in Europe – many of whom are becoming the drivers of this ecosystem by getting involved with startups.

Our current priority is to get greater visibility abroad for the Parisian innovation ecosystem. In the third quarter of 2016, France caught up with the United Kingdom and has surpassed Germany in terms of financing startups, and Paris is the main driver of this momentum.

We have launched an ambitious plan to make the ecosystem more international, and the mayor of Paris wants us have 30% of all companies in incubation come from abroad by 2020. We also want to use the CES to attract international startups: we’ve therefore created the Paris Landing Pack, a package that combines access to an incubator, a set of dedicated services for foreign leaders and a housing proposal.

We’re offering a 4-week accelerator program that will allow foreign startups to immerse themselves in the Parisian ecosystem. And we are rolling out a network of start-up exchanges with leading innovative cities across the globe: New York, Montreal, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, etc. This month, we also announced a partnership with London, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin to create a network that will facilitate new business opportunities in and among these partner cities.

Finally, we want to demonstrate that Paris is a fantastic urban laboratory in itself. Paris & Co’s Urban Lab provides unique opportunities for companies who want to test their prototypes and solutions “in vivo, in situ” in the center of the 3rd most densely populated city in the world.

We will also present the Hacking de l’Hotel de Ville, which will take place on March 16th and gather more than 3000 startups and other innovators from all over the world. This international event is a showcase of business opportunities for startups; this year, more than 2800 individual encounters were held during a giant meet-up session! The 2017 edition will wear the colors of the Olympic Games, in support of Paris’s bid.


What do you expect to get from being at the CES?


  • to show that major companies are involved in innovation in Paris
  • to change the perception among international innovators about Paris and to position the city as the world leader in urban innovation
  • to encourage startups and international investors to come and discover opportunities in Paris
  • to provide new business opportunities and greater visibility to the startups coming with us – WeNow and LeetDesign – for an event with worldwide exposure.


Any other questions you would have liked me to ask you?

I would have liked you to ask me: "You spoke about helping to put human beings at the heart of the smart city. Do you have any new projects in mind?"

And, in fact, we do! We will soon launch a platform on the circular economy. And in March 2017, we will launch a call for projects to select the startups that will join this incubator. Paris & Co will provide expert advice and support for these startups (who are contributing to improving life in the city) by helping them to roll out new solutions, services and uses in sustainable ways. The platform will reinforce our well-established position on the sustainable city, which includes incubators on the “future of real estate”, and “logistics and sustainable urban mobility”.

Source: Christine Leroy